BAGUIO CITY – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance establishing equitable opportunity for the local Baguio tourism services sector and restricting the operation of outside tourism services within the city.
Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Leah A. Farinas, it will be ordained that an equitable opportunity be ascertained to the local city tourism services sector who are engaged in tourism services such as, but not limited to, tourist guiding, meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibition suppliers, event organizers, wedding planners, food catering services connected to such activities, and other tourism services, by giving this sector priority over outside tourist competitors, whether or not they have been employed or contracted by their respective tour organizers.
The ordinance stated that as far as practicable, outside tourism service providers, whether or individuals or entities who have not been locally accredited by the City Tourism Office prior to their entry to the city, or otherwise registered under the terms and conditions that the measure decrees, are prohibited to practice any tourist service-related activity.
Further, local city tourism service providers shall in turn be tapped to provide and replace their services as a remedy.
However, notwithstanding constitutional rights afforded to all citizens of the country, in the absence of a national law, act or pronouncement that prohibits the same, outside tourism service providers who have been employed or contracted by private individuals, organizations, associations or institutions may still be allowed to honor the agreement between themselves and be exempted from the provisions of the measure provided that the outside tourist guide, tour event organizer, wedding planner, caterer and other similar entities so employed or contracted, shall pay 20 percent of their total contract price to the City Tourism Office where such amount will form part of tourism funds and to be utilized by the city government in its tourism-related programs and that the payment of this shall be paid per contract that will also serve as their accreditation and registration fee valid only for one year from the date of issue.
According to the measure, this will allow these outside entities to provide their tourism services and likewise be recognized as a locally practicing outside tourism service provider by the City Tourism Office.
The ordinance provides that all outside tour packages and MICE activities, including events booked in local venues such as in hotels, functions, auditoriums, and other similar places, are to be reported by the management of these venues to the City Tourism Office, whether the events are locally recognized and accredited tourism service providers, or if said organizers are outside tourism service providers, and therefore have to adhere to the provisions of the measure for them to be able to relinquish their services in favor of locally operating tourism providers or pay the registration or accreditation fee which is 20 percent of the gross contract price, and be able to operate within the validity period of one year.
For non-accredited or non-registered tourism service providers who have not registered with the City Tourism Office or non-accredited tourism service providers who are locally practicing shall be penalized with a fine of 20 percent of the total gross contract prices for the first offense; payment of 50 percent of the total gross contract price and will be blacklisted for the second offense and payment of 100 percent gross contract price and will be banned from tourism services practice.
For venues, organizations among others, business establishments with venues for MICE activities and other institutions who fail to report their respective events to the City Tourism Office for proper registration and accreditation, they shall be penalized with a fine of 20 percent of the total gross contract prices for the first offense; payment of 50 percent of the total gross contract price and will be blacklisted for the second offense and payment of 100 percent gross contract price and every other succeeding offense.