Design thinking to lead success of farm tourism initiatives
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Those who want to succeed in farm tourism should utilize design thinking in developing the right product.
Mina Gabor, chairperson and president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), delivered this message during her talk on the first day of the Philippine Farm Tourism Conference in Marco Plaza Cebu.
“Today, the latest trends in design thinking, whether designing products, residences, parks or farm tourism sites, is knowing that design must be human-centered,” said Gabor.
Gabor said design thinking means having a deeper understanding of the users’ needs and wants in relation to the problem or challenges.
“This means that beyond functionality, we need to understand the how, the why, the when if the products’ intended use,” Gabor said.
She explained that farm tourism ” is all about understanding the needs of visitors, their expectations of the community where the site is located.”
Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who delivered the keynote address at the conference, also noted the need for those who wanted to go into farm tourism to link with Gabor and ISST.
In her speech, Arroyo shared that she also wanted to develop an area in Pampanga for tourism several years ago.
“The idea was to develop tourism product of a one-hour ride on board a fisherman’s boat then catch fish at the pond, [and then] cook these with vegetables,” she said.
But Arroyo said they were told that they had a “long way to go” before the model can become successful.
After Gabor offered to help develop Pampanga’s tourism industry, Arroyo said the plan became more structured and more professional.
The three-day conference, which will run from November 6 to 8, has generated an estimated 350 participants hailing from different parts of the Philippines and delegations from India and Thailand.
Farm tourism, a growing form of travel and leisure option in the Philippines, includes fruit picking, horse riding, fishing, livestock feedin and guided walks around farm trails.
It also includes educational visits, seminars and training sessions on farming best practices, and farm-to-table food and beverage outlets.
Discussions on various topics will continue on Thursday, November 7.
On Friday, November 8, participants will be going on farm tours. / celr
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