Tourism office reiterates warning to tourists to avoid unregistered tour operators

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) — The Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTO) reiterated its warning to tourists visiting the city for the Kadayawan Festival to avoid transacting with unlicensed travel agencies offering tour services on social media.

This after a team from CTO’s licensing unit and Business Bureau accosted on Saturday evening the operators of the Princess Adventours during an inspection at its pick-up point on Malvar Street this city.

City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson said the company’s operation was illegal even if its representative claimed the business permit allowing them to sell tour packages is being processed.

“It doesn’t mean that (if) you are processing papers to get the business permit, you can be allowed to operate. You should have a business permit first. She’s claiming she has a business permit for ticketing, which does not even allow her to sell tours,” she said.

She said she has yet to discuss with the Business Bureau and City Legal Office on what actions to take against the tour agency.

Tecson said most of the online tour operators are unregistered with the city and do not have offices, making it difficult for authorities to locate them when emergencies occur.

“We request the general public to be careful and responsible by asking your suppliers/providers business permits and other pertinent details for your own safety and convenience,” Tecson

Tourism arrivals for the first half of 2019 have reached 1.268 million, nearly halfway to the 3 million target of the local government for the entire year, Tecson said.

Data from the tourism office showed that arrivals for the first semester saw an increase of 8.61% from 1.167% recorded in the same period a year ago.

Tecson said the tourism office remains optimistic that it can hit the target because she anticipated that tourist arrivals will pick up in the second half, especially during the month-long Kadayawan Festival in August.

The Kadayawan festival, the biggest celebration in the city highlights the cultures of the city’s 11 tribes, consisting of six Moro tribes (Tausug, Maguindanaon, Iranun, Kagan, Maranao, and Sama) and five Lumad tribes (Klata, Ata, Uvo Manuvo, Matigsalog, and Tagabawa). (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)