By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – 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 without business permits.
The warning was issued after a team from CTO’s licensing unit and Business Bureau accosted on Saturday the operators of the Princess Adventours during an inspection at its pick-up point on Malvar St. this city.
CTO head Gene Rose 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 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,” Tecson said.
She said she has yet to discuss with the Business Bureau and City Legal Office what action to take against the tour agency.
Tecson said most online tour operators are not registered with the city and do not have offices here, 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 said
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 percent from 1.167 percent recorded in the same period a year ago.
Tecson said the tourism office remains optimistic it can hit the target because she tourist arrivals are expected to pick up in the second half, especially during the monthlong Kadayawan Festival in September.
The Kadayawan , 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, Ubo Manuvo, Matigsalog, and Tagabawa).