Tourism Puerto Rico launches agricultural tourism programme

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Updated: November 28, 2014 8:44:19 AM

Agricultural Tourism is a form of sustainable tourism, in which the visitor has the opportunity to learn about agricultural areas

Puerto Rico Tourism Company has announced the start of the agency’s Agricultural Tourism Programme with the official certification of Hacienda Tres Ángeles in the municipality of Adjuntas, located at the Island’s central mountainous region.

Agricultural Tourism is a form of sustainable tourism, in which the visitor has the opportunity to learn about agricultural areas, tasks, local products, native foods and the region’s everyday life, as well as the destination’s cultural heritage and traditions. Agricultural Tourism also provides an additional income to the local agricultural market.

Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, said, “With the start of this Programme, we strengthen our commitment to stimulate the development of tourism niches based on particular elements of our Island, such as our produce and the work of our people. Both are the pillars of agricultural tourism and impact the economic and social sustainability of farmers, the local tourism industry and the economic development of the Island as a whole.”

Hacienda Tres Ángeles, founded by young Puerto Rican entrepreneur, Juan Meléndez, is an example of the potential and impact that the Agricultural Tourism niche has on the local tourism industry. With a total investment of US$516,192, including a contribution of US$242,435 from the department of agriculture, Meléndez began the 100 acre farm, dedicating 90 per cent of the land to grow coffee, and the rest to cultivate oranges and plantains. The hacienda already exports its coffee products to the United States and Europe, while also supplying the local market.

Myrna Comas, secretary, Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, said, “Today, the infrastructure design of this beautiful plantation houses an ecological operation that clearly demonstrates the effort of a family dedicated to the land. With the goal of rescuing our coffee industry and increasing our local coffee production, the department of agriculture has provided several incentives and has signed cooperation contracts with coffee nurseries to enable the production of 16 million coffee trees. Hacienda Tres Ángeles is a family business that joined in the effort to rescue our mountain coffee, and its owner, farmer Juan Meléndez and his family, motivate their employees and other coffee growers to increase production of this precious grain to take it back to the positioning its entitled to.”

This agro-tourist hacienda represents the creation of 16 jobs for the management and maintenance of the plantation, aside from the 85 coffee collectors during harvest season (from September through December) and expects to create eight new direct jobs and 12 indirect jobs, for a total of 100 jobs that will help boost the Island’s economy.

Conscious about the growth potential that the agricultural tourism market has for the Island, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company created the Agricultural Tourism Programme, under the sustainability principle. The PRTC consolidated an advisory council to establish the Agricultural Tourism Guide, while collaborating with the PRTC’s Sustainability Tourism Division.

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