Mar 222015

MANILA, Philippines – The first-ever Social Tourism Summit was organized in partnership with TEAM Philippines (Tourism Educators and Movers of the Philippines) and the League of Tourism Students of the Philippines.

It was held at the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm on Feb. 21, gathering students and professors to discover how tourism can help to alleviate poverty.

More than 170 attendees from four different universities in Metro Manila visited the GK Enchanted Farm, the Gawad Kalinga platform to raise social entrepreneurs, help local farmers and create wealth in the countryside.

Delegates were welcomed by Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto, whose vision to create a “Disneyland” for Social Tourism has, in little over five years, seen the Enchanted Farm emerge as an international hub attracting entrepreneurs, volunteers and short-term tourists from across the world.

International corporations such as Air France, Schneider Electric and Shell have helped to transform the Farm’s surroundings, which today attract thousands of international visitors each year thanks to its partnerships with 34 universities from across Europe.

“We are attracting the brightest and the best from Europe to join us in our vision to build a fairer, safer world. More and more of them are coming because they are attracted to a cause which truly inspires them,” Meloto said. “They partner with our people, and offer such love and care to the poor that even the lost and most marginalized are learning to dream once more. Here at the Enchanted Farm they even learn French – something beyond the calibre of most graduates from even the top schools in Manila. This is a miracle of solidarity.”

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In addition to learning about social tourism, students participated in some of the regular activities which are open to visitors, including farm tours, a buffet lunch sourced freshly from the farm, social enterprise demos on farm-based products and farming activities, which include planting and watering among other things.

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