The public is strongly advised to transact only with accredited travel and tour agencies and accredited training centers, as the Department of Tourism (DOT) has been receiving reports of the proliferation of non-accredited entities advertising services on different social media platforms.
These unaccredited entities have reportedly been offering services for airline ticketing, travel and tours arrangement, hotel booking, and training offerings for travel business management.
"The public is hereby warned to be vigilant in dealing with these entities as there can be no guarantee on the reliability and legitimacy of their products and services," the DOT said in an advisory.
The DOT wishes to inform the public that there are only select training centres that are accredited in offering courses for putting up travel agencies and other tourism-related services.
The DOT adds that all travel agencies/tour operators, including online bookings, are covered under the DOT Accreditation Law provided in Republic Act 9593 otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2009 and supported by the Department of Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular 2019-17 requiring accreditation before issuance of business permits.
"Non-compliance to the provisions thereof is punishable by law," the advisory says.
According to the Tourism department, entities with valid and existing accreditation with the DOT have informative websites and/or online pages bearing the DOT's Quality Seal and their corresponding Accreditation Number with validity.
For a complete list of DOT-accredited enterprises, the DOT instructs the public to visit www.tourism.gov.ph. — Margaret Claire Layug/BM, GMA News