DOT highlights farm tourism in the new normal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) — The Department of Tourism is currently promoting agricultural farms as tourist spots in light of people seeking more meaningful and experiential travel.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during an interview on CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon, "Dati, [Before] I was really pushing for farm tourism pero ngayon lang talaga na-highlight [it's only now that it's being highlighted]. Now, people want to know where their food comes from."

In a survey conducted by the department, the preferences of travelers have generally changed due to the pandemic. More people are looking for open spaces to heighten health protection.

Tourists can go to farms depending on the season and the crops they like, Puyat noted.

"Mga April at May, may grape season naman. [April and May are grape season.] You can do that in La Union. You can go grape-picking or strawberry-picking depende sa season [depending on the season]," the Tourism secretary added.

Puyat also shared that people would come to her to discuss about harvesting rice when she was still at the Department of Agriculture.

Aside from farm tourism, travelers have embraced the lifestyle geared toward mountain climbing, biking, diving, and surfing all being done in open areas.

In line with this development, the secretary assures the public that a huge number of tourism workers are already inoculated against Covid-19.

"Nationwide, 98% are already fully-vaccinated. We are already on our booster program," she said.

She also clarified that the negative antigen test result requirement was only added as an option for those who will enter the country.

These travelers, she said, are either asked to present a negative 48-hour RT-PCR test result or a 24-hour lab-based negative antigen test result before departure.