THE Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) underscored the importance of primary tourism enterprises, such as travel agencies, to secure accreditation with the Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a recent webinar with Rise Up PH, TCP President Jose C. Clemente III said, among the benefits include being able to tap financial assistance aimed at boosting the recovery of the tourism sector. Rise Up PH is a Facebook group where members from the tourism and travel sectors share information and strategies to kickstart the recovery of their sectors. “The financial aid that will be available to the industry [under the ARISE and Bayanihan 2 bills] is meant for accredited tourism enterprises,” he stressed.
He explained, “[Accreditation] is like a seal of good housekeeping; it separates those who have met the requirements of good operations [from companies who don’t].” Under Republic Act 9593 (Tourism Act of 2009), “No business permit can be issued by LGUs (local government units) unless you have accreditation,” he pointed out.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government issued a memorandum order in February 2019 instructing LGUs to implement the law in regard to the issuance of business permits to primary tourism enterprises. (See, “5 Manila Bay hotels get notices of violations,” in the BusinessMirror, February 22, 2019.)
Rise Up PH noted, however, that a number of LGUs don’t require tourism enterprises to be DOT-accredited before being issued a business permit. “It’s still your choice, accreditation. It just so happens that’s what the law says, you have to get a business permit, [you need DOT accreditation]. If you can live with it [no accreditation], then fine.”
Under the P1.3-trillion ARISE bill passed by the House of Representatives, the DOT has been allocated P58 billion for its tourism response and recovery program (TRRP), which will be mainly used for loans for working capital to accredited tourism enterprises. The loans will be coursed through government financial institutions.
In the Senate, the Bayanihan 2 bill allocates P10 billion to the DOT for its TRRP. The DOT has eased up on its accreditation guidelines this year, in light of Covid’s impact on the tourism industry. For one, it has temporarily done away with the collection of accreditation fees.
Palawan ‘best island’ again
Meanwhile, the DOT celebrated the hailing of Palawan as the “Best Island in the World” by the international travel publication, Travel + Leisure.
In a news statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said, “Palawan reclaimed its rightful place in the World’s Best Awards. The citation as the ‘Best Island in the World’ is all the more important because this is voted upon by the readers of the prominent Travel + Leisure [T+L] magazine.”
Romulo Puyat was in El Nido recently, checking on the readiness of Palawan for reopening to tourism. (See, “Key destinations in Palawan lose over P3 billion in tourism receipts,” in the BusinessMirror, July 4, 2020.) The province is now a four-time winner of the world’s best island award.
T+L’s Sara Clemence said in her profile of Palawan, “Though it’s difficult to reach from many parts of the world, once travelers get there they can dive in World War II wrecks, explore old-growth rain forests, and paddle one of the world’s longest subterranean rivers at Puerto Princesa.”
One fan was quoted saying, “The landscape and scenery are just gorgeous. It offers the most beautiful beaches, resorts, and scenery anywhere.”
Boracay Island, another popular tourism destination in the Philippines, was ranked No. 14 in T+L’s World Best Island list, and fifth in Asia this year.