More local government units (LGUs) have declared support for the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) accreditation initiative for tourism-related establishments. Under Republic Act 9593, otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2009, all primary tourism enterprises shall be required to obtain compulsory and mandatory accreditation from the Department. The law also underscores the value of accreditation by giving preference to those accredited enterprises as beneficiaries of promotional training and other programs and services of the DOT and its attached agencies.
The City Councils of Dapitan, Zamboanga, Bacolod and General Santos are the latest to support the DOT’s campaign for accreditation, adopting resolutions in July and May.
They follow the Provincial Councils of Sorsogon, Albay, Isabela, Siquijor and Bohol and City Councils of Cebu, Iloilo, Mandaue, Naga and Puerto Princesa, all of which had resolutions or ordinances on the matter signed or approved earlier this year.
The City Council of Digos, Davao del Sur and Municipal Council of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras made similar declarations late last year.
“These pledges of support for our Department’s accreditation drive are very encouraging. Diligent enforcement of accreditation guidelines will be vital, and as the ultimate benefactors of better-quality tourism products and services through accreditation, the localities themselves must be involved,” remarked Secretary Alberto A. Lim.
Prior to Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1990, the DOT had licensing powers over tourism-related establishments. This regulatory function was devolved and instead, voluntary accreditation was substituted. The provision of mandatory accreditation in RA 9593 is also seen to ensure uniformity in standards and guidelines across all LGUs.
All mentioned LGUs have also agreed to have primary enterprises present their respective accreditation certificates upon renewal of their business permits. Enterprises applying for new permits will be required to present an endorsement from the DOT.
Primary tourism enterprises include travel agencies and tour operators, tourist transport services, accommodation establishments, convention and exhibition organizers, and tourism estate management services, while secondary tourism enterprises cover all other tourism enterprises.
Section 14(c) of Subchapter II-A of R.A. No. 9593 mandates the DOT's Office of Tourism Standards and Regulations to develop and enforce a system of accreditation for both primary and secondary tourism enterprises.