DOT asks Lapu-Lapu to defer implementation of ordinance

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


THE Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 has requested the Lapu-Lapu City government to review its city ordinance on tour guide operation and delay its implementation to 2013.

Stakeholders, including Korean tour guides, were worried that the measure, if implemented this year, could affect the growth of tourism in the province.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo requested Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, in a letter sent last July 30, to exempt 50 Korean nationals who were already accredited by the DOT as tour guides and the rest who will be trained until this December from the requirement of undergoing an orientation and getting a 2012 mayor’s permit, since the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the ordinance are not yet in place.

The DOT 7 still has to train 350 Korean guides until December to comply with DOT accreditation.

In a recent consultative meeting, Cebu tourism stakeholders, led by the Korean Association of Tour Operators (KATO), Cebu Korean Association, Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and Cebu Association of Tour Guides (CAT-G) raised concerns about the redundancy of requirements by the ordinance passed by the Lapu-Lapu City Council.

KATO president Alex Lee said they are now required to take a seminar and obtain a permit and identification card from Lapu-Lapu City Hall even if they already obtained a similar set of requirements from the DOT.

Lee said there are 15 Korean travel agencies in Cebu and about 83 Korean tour guides. He said they help Cebu attract more Korean tourists.

“The government is spending money to attract more tourists to the country and here we are making it difficult for our tourists once they’re here. Something is wrong here,” said Augusto Go, honorary consul of South Korea to Cebu.

“I don’t understand why they require a lot of IDs when there is already a national issued ID provided by the DOT,” said CAT-G president Judilyn Taghoy.

Go asked the associations to write a letter to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez to
raise their concerns.

Montecillo, in her letter to Mayor Radaza, said the DOT licenses given to tour guides is a nationally-issued ID that allows them to guide anywhere in the region.

Tour guides get their license where they reside. They only follow tour itineraries sold by a DOT-accredited tour operator.

Montecillo said requiring accredited tour guides to seek more than one mayor’s permit is “putting so much burden on frontliners who were trained to sell the destination.”

She said it may set a precedent as other cities and municipalities might copy the ordinance and apply it in their respective jurisdictions and can cause confusion.

Montecillo also requested the inclusion of the DOT, CATO and CAT-G in the committee in reviewing the IRR.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 02, 2012.

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