Several government agencies, headed by the Department of Tourism (DOT), have partnered to boost the promotion of food tourism in the country and infuse food tourism in the celebration of the Filipino Food Month, which is held every April of the year.

The DOT, together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a framework of cooperation and collaboration to promote food tourism in the country.

The MOU, signed by the heads of the different agencies, seeks out to drive up appreciation, preservation, and promotion of Filipino culinary traditions and ensure these traditions transfer to coming generations.  It is also meant to support those involved in food tourism such as farmers and agri-communities.

“As we look forward to every annual celebration of Filipino Food Month, we would like to use this as a platform to promote travel for a taste of a place in order to get a sense of a place,” Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in her opening remarks during the virtual signing ceremony.

A technical working group will also be formed and will be tasked to conduct quarterly meetings to ensure the smooth implementation of the activities and responsibilities enclosed in the MOU.

Under the agreement, DOT will align its food tourism efforts and collaborate with DA, NCCA, PCHM, and other potential partners to support the implementation of the Filipino Food Month. DOT’s food and gastronomy tourism-related activities will be included in the calendar of events pertaining to Filipino Food Month. DOT will also support to the promotion of the Filipino Food Month through information dissemination about its activities through the department’s platforms and networks.

Puyat pledged the DOT’s full support and cooperation in the initiative, underscoring the immense potential of Filipino food in tourism prior to the pandemic.

“Our own internal studies in the DOT have revealed that prior to the pandemic in 2019, inbound tourists spent 22.4% of their total expenditures on food and beverage items.  For domestic tourists, 8% was devoted to F&B expenses and a big chunk of shopping expenses were also spent on foodie treats,” the tourism chief said.

Further, the DOT chief also mentioned the Department’s on-going efforts in harnessing the potentials of food tourism by formulating regional tourism circuits with food and farm experiences as the centerpiece of itineraries; conducting food tourism resource inventories and mapping of key food tourism destinations in the country through its regional offices and their respective local government units; and facilitating capacity-building programs to equip community stakeholders.

“As we shine the spotlight on our diverse culinary heritage and our agricultural producers, let us also experience the fun of food tripping in the Philippines,” she said.