THE TOURISM department will hold trainings anew in Bohol as the provincial government drafts local laws that will tighten regulation of goods and services after a visitor posted an incident of an absurdly overpriced meal that went viral on social media.
“The alleged overpricing of seafood by vendors in Virgin Island, Panglao, Bohol is a matter that the Department of Tourism (DoT) takes seriously especially as it concerns the welfare of tourists whose continued support for our destinations is critical to the recovery of the tourism industry,” Secretary Christina G. Frasco said in a statement released late Tuesday evening.
Ms. Frasco said their regional office is working with the local government units (LGUs) of Bohol and Panglao “to provide guidance on standards for the provision of tourist goods and services, and we will extend trainings to the frontline tourism workers and stakeholders involved to safeguard the overall tourist experience in the Island.”
The DoT is also coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry on policies relating to “reasonable pricing standards” to protect consumers.
Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado has ordered a temporary halt on boat trips to Virgin Island while a probe is ongoing.
Ms. Aumentado has also directed the provincial council to begin working on resolutions or ordinances that will provide protection to tourists.
The governor, who is on his first term in office, acknowledged that there had long been reports of exploitative practices in the tourism sector.
“We will fix this!” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ms. Frasco underscored that tourism, which provides livelihoods and could become a major contributor to the economy, is “a shared responsibility.”
Bohol, located in central Philippines, is known for its beaches and dive spots, the Chocolate Hills, tarsier, and historical and heritage sites. — MSJ