Horticulture tourism in urban and rural PH

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

I found this beautiful book in my library and I am glad to share with you very viable and valuable ideas on how to make the Philippines more fun and attract more tourists with our natural wealth.

Charlie Sampson, author of Horticulture Tourism, starts with a definition of terms. Horticulture, he wrote, is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings and basically involves fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf. Horticulture usually refers to gardening on a smaller scale, while agriculture refers to the large-scale cultivation of crops.

Here are a few of Mr. Sampson’s research and suggestions on developing and marketing horticulture tourism:

In Kenya, horticulture employs two million directly, 80 percent of them small-scale farmers according to the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Association. Likewise, it earned 70.3 billion shillings (562 million pounds) from exports of fruits and vegetables in 2007 which beat tourism which earned 65.4 billion shillings in the same year.

Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen, a very keen gardener, used tourism to drive the upgrading of parks and gardens in Malaysia. They redeveloped the Water Mall at the Penang Botanic Gardens into a Water Garden with Victoria lilies and other water plants. They also created public botanic gardens in Malaca, Fraser’s Hill, Cameron Highlands, Raub and Kuala Lumpur. These have drawn big numbers of tourists.

In many countries, there are also Gardening Shows and International Expos developed and constructed to the satisfaction of tourists. Our very own UP campuses in Diliman, Los Banos and others could be developed to host such events; they have existing botanic gardens. Already there are plant shows and expos at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City but they are not well-publicized, even Metro Manilans do not know about such events. The Philippine Society for the Conservation of Native Plants say that we have more than 3,800 indigenous plants compared to 17 in the US and Canada combined.

Planning for horticulture tourism development should be integrated to avoid, as far as possible, disparities in the standards of amenities for the visitors and local population. Tourism planning should not be left totally to private enterprise in search of profit. Government must actively participate in it to create a favorable climate for investment and must control the planning of the physical environment.

The following points must be taken into consideration: What facilities should be erected and when? Alternative land use. Pollution. Serenity and atmosphere. Integrity of landscape. Cost of land, and its ratio to building and development costs. Traffic circulation. Zoning and density. Services—water, electricity, sewerage, etc.

Architectural style, building regulations, site-layout density, and preservation of the natural features of the land are part of the environmental control. A couplet in the Atharveda says: “Whatever I take from the Earth may that have quick growth again. O Purifier, may we not injure the vitals of Thy heart!” If we treat the earth without reverence and ruin its beauty and order, the end will be the failure of the earth to produce food for us. Let us not exploit it greedily lest it comes to ruin speedily.

We now know what we have to sell, to whom we have to sell, where the prospective tourists are located and also how the product will be made available to them. The object now is to create a promotion and advertising campaign which will reach the target audience and motivate them to come to our country particularly to our neck in the woods. We get to know our tourists, his knowledge, attitude and usage of our tourism products and its competitors. We need to craft a creative strategy—our unique motivation proposition—to differentiate our horticulture tourism destinations from similar destinations in other parts of the world.

I am giving my one and only copy of this book to Camiguin Governor JJ Remulla, who is very passionate about redeveloping Camiguin as a major tourist attraction. Oh, yes, there is WiFi (a must for tourists) in Camiguin.

ASTD ASIA PACIFIC CONFERENCE ON HRD. Join our Philippine delegation to the ASTD Asia-Pacific Conference to be held at the Taipei International Convention Center, Taiwan, on Oct 30-Nov 1, 2014. The conference will focus on training and development in the Asia-Pacific region. Thought leaders from both the East and West will participate as both speakers and attendees. Participants will walk away with insights and cutting-edge tools and solutions that will give them a competitive edge in their learning positions.

For details, please call or text CP#+63917-8996653 or send e-mail to moje629@gmail.com.


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