President Cortizo Cohen sanctions law promoting agrotourism in Panama
"In our Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, agrotourism is recognized as an activity of high strategic priority," said the president
The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, sanctioned the law that regulates and establishes measures to promote agrotourism activity in Panama, during a ceremony held at the Alternative Farm in Coclesito.
The law, which is signed by the Minister of Agricultural Development (MIDA), Augusto Valderrama, aims to promote agrotourism within rural tourism as an alternative for the sustainable development of the agricultural productive sector, so that both tourists and visitors can have an authentic experience of internalization of production processes, of contact with customs and traditions and of exploration of native nature in a healthy, safe and quality way. "In our Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, agrotourism is recognized as an activity of high strategic priority for tourism and economic development," said President Cortizo Cohen.
He stressed that tourist activity creates a cross-cutting economy that benefits other sectors and, as such, is an effective tool to combat poverty by creating new jobs and alternative sources of income.
"Agrotourism creates a win-win situation because, on the one hand, there is a growing market of travelers seeking experiences for their personal growth that include contact with nature, with the rural environment, agriculture, livestock and authentic traditions," he added.
He indicated that, for the government committed to fighting poverty and inequality, community tourism is an important part of the Colmena Plan, focused on improving the quality of life of Panamanians and Panamanians in the 300 most vulnerable townships.
For his part, Minister Valderrama pointed out that there are currently 70 agrotourism farms and there are more than 150 applications, which shows the thrust of this activity.
Deputy Corina Cano, proponent of the law, said that it is a historic day for agrotourism activity, which sees in this rule an opportunity for new income.
Also present at the event were the administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, Ivan Eskilsen; the governors Irasema de Dale, from Colón; and Julio Palacios, from Coclé. In addition, Eulalio Yángüez, mayor of the Omar Torrijos district; and the owner of the Alternative Farm, Humberto López Tirone.
With this law, agrotourism will be integrated into the Government's plans for economic growth as a way to capitalize on the benefits offered by nature or agricultural farms.
This provision of services constitutes other economic income as a complement to that of its main agricultural activity, thus seeking the improvement of the rural economy on farms, the distribution of wealth in rural areas, the active participation of communities and the Job creation.
It is contemplated in the law that all matters related to agrotourism farms will be in charge of the Agrotourism Program, attached to the Superior Office of MIDA, in different provinces of the country.
This agrotourism program will work for the benefit of the resident populations linked to the different projects that are developed in the agrotourism farms and will certify the farms that will carry out the activity, upon presentation of the documentation that validates that they comply with the requirements established in this Law.
Agrotourism is one of the main sustainable development strategies, to which is added the growth of the tourism sector as a new source of income different from what Panama normally sells to the foreign market, offering green tourism, with zero pollution and in an environment of nature suitable for the good development of the visitors.
Among the requirements for the registration of farms include having the presence of the agricultural activity installed and operating properly, presenting identification, title of property (natural or legal person), having trained personnel on the farm for the attention of tourists, access roads for the easy transit of vehicles, to have water for human consumption and for the use of the facilities (bathrooms, toilets, kitchen cleaning).
For accreditation, the farm must be duly registered in the project and have completed all the required documentation, have its formally defined tourist package, have complied with the aesthetic-environmental recommendations of the Agrotourism Safety Manual and the requirements established by the ATP , in addition to having participated in 3 MIDA-ATP trainings.