Lodges to submit tourism arrival data before renewal of business permits

BONTOC, Mtn. Prov.– Let All lodging houses and other accommodation establishments be reminded that they are now required to submit tourism statistical data to the Municipal Tourism Offices as bases for the renewal or issuance of business permits.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) enacted Provincial Ordinance No. 296 last year sponsored by Board Member Donato Danglose, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and Tourism.
Entitled as ‘the Tourism Statistical Data Standards of Mountain Province”, the Ordinance invoked Republic Act No. 9593, otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2009, authorized the Local Government Units (LGUs) to monitor and administer tourism activities, and enforce tourism laws, rules, and regulations.
One hindrance to the promotion of tourism development in the province is the lack or non-submission of statistical tourism arrival data to the Municipal Tourism Offices which in turn shall submit to the Provincial Tourism Office for consolidation.
Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, provides that LGUs shall prepare, adopt, implement, and monitor tourism development plans, enforce rules and collect statistical data for tourism purposes.
It was gathered that the main reason lodging establishments hesitate to submit tourism arrival data is that it could be used for taxation purposes. That notion was, time and again, denied by authorities.
However, it is underscored that tourism statistical data will serve as bases for policy, and decision making development, and improvement of the tourism industry, for marketing and investment promotion in local, regional, and national levels.
Tourism statistics is a measure of tourism effectiveness and as a tool to assess whether tourism policies are effective, sustainable, and progressive.
“It is also a gauge to know the lean months when tourists are less, to propose and implement tourism programs and activities during lean months, to lure them to visit the municipality or province”, is the common sentiment of the Municipal Tourism Action Officers voiced in one of their meetings.
“All accommodation establishments with permits and licenses shall accomplish monthly tourism statistical data based on standards and formulas as prescribed by the Department of Tourism to be submitted to the Municipal Tourism Office of the LGU where the establishment is located on or before the 15th of the following month”, reads the Ordinance.
Although no penal provision are provided, it specifically mentions that it shall be the duty of the Municipal Tourism Officers and/or the Provincial Tourism Officer to monitor the implementation of the ordinance.
Under the circular issued by DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano, “Primary Tourism Enterprises such as hotels, resorts, inns, and other accommodation establishments are required to secure accreditation from the Department of Tourism (DOT) for issuance of the license or permit to operate”.
It is, therefore, necessary that all lodging establishments shall comply with the submission of the tourist arrival data and obtain DOT accreditation before operation.
Concerned LGUs will be notified by the DOT for failure to comply and might have to issue closure orders., the Circular warns.
Tourism policies and enforcement of tourism rules and regulations are now devolved to the LGUs per RA 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991 and RA 9593, or the Tourism Act of 2009.** Roger Sacyaten

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