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Bohol official says tourism code to address overpricing issues 

THE CHOCOLATE Hills in Bohol. — BOHOL.GOV.PH

A PROVINCIAL Board member of Bohol said price regulation for goods and services will be included in the proposed local tourism law after another issue of overcharging, this time involving van drivers.   

Board Member Tita V. Baja, chair of the committee on tourism and urban/rural development, said “regulating the prices or commissions, may be considered in crafting the new Bohol Tourism Code, which is now 90% complete.”  

In a statement from the provincial government, Ms. Baja said one concrete step for regulation is mandatory accreditation from the local government.   

Ms. Baja has received reports that van drivers ferrying visitors to Chocolate Hills were demanding high commission from all-terrain vehicle operators while overcharging guests at the same time.  

“Please don’t do that,” she said in the vernacular, noting that such practices would discourage visitors and affect the reputation of Bohol, one of the most popular tourist destinations in central Philippines.   

In August, a social media post about excessive pricing on food served at the Virgin Island prompted the provincial government to prohibit dining operations on the island.   

Meanwhile, a groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday in the town of Dauis for the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) rest area project, the sixth so far in the country.    

Dauis is strategically situated between Tagbilaran City, the provincial capital, and Panglao, where the international airport and beach destinations are located, DoT said in a statement on Thursday.   

The Tourist Rest Area will have an information center, shop for local products, cafe, and restrooms, among other facilities. Rest areas have also been launched in Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Baguio City, and two towns in Cebu.    

Construction will be funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, while the host local government unit will be in charge of management under the DoT’s monitoring.   

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, who led the groundbreaking ceremony, also met with Bohol’s tourism stakeholders as part of her nationwide direct consultations initiative.   

“As we move forward in this new era of tourism development, I hope for your continued collaboration in order to usher in the country’s economic recovery,” she told the group.  

One of the main concerns raised was strengthening coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the regulation and preservation of eco-cultural areas in the province, according to DoT.   

As of September 30, Bohol recorded more than 222,000 visitors this year, 24% higher than the 179,000 in full year 2021. — MSJ

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