Tour Operators Ask Durano to Come to Their Rescue
Byline: CORNELIO R. DE GUZMAN
Big tour operators appealed yesterday to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano to use his influence to put an end to the imposition of pre-payment conditions to Japanese travel agents and wholesalers by the hotels and resorts especially in Cebu.
In a formal letter to Secretary Durano, the tour operators, however, lauded him for making the tourism industry "suddenly vibrant," despite of many years of under-development. From less than two million tourist arrivals yearly, it jumps today to 2.6 million international visitors under Duranoas "aggressive and focus leadership."
"Your openness and sincere approach in revitalizing the tourism industry encourage the private sector to join hands with you in embarking on an aggressive sales and marketing campaign in major markets mainly, Japan and North America and the emerging markets, Korea and Mainland China, the letter adds.
"But sad to say however, that in view of the sudden influx of tourist arrival, the hotels and resorts particularly in Cebu have imposed unreasonable if not impossible conditions which eventually might erase the gains we have made and eventually lose these markets," tour operators tell Durano.
The letter complaint then listed what it described "the most serious ones," namely:
1. Prepayment for all room bookings regardless of date of arrival, which more often is more than 3 months away.
2. Cash payment on deposits or prepayments. Company checks not acceptable to them.
3. US dollar payments are being required by some hotels/resorts.
"The prepayment requirement especially for Japanese charter group with an average of three nights stay requires cash financial outlay of between $20,000 or $30,000 for rooms and meals. This we have to advance thus depleting the Tour Operatoras cash flow.
"Most if not all the Japanese wholesalers like JTB, KNT, HIS and others, their credit term with their ground operators is between 30 to 60 days from the time we bill them."
They told Durano that the international hotel policy is one night deposit and full payment that depends on the credit terms specified in their respective agreements.
The tour operators said that this policy of some hotels and resorts has been imposed to take advantage of the situation where "there is now more demand and lack of supply for accommodations."
They warned that this practice might eventually lead to "self-destruction" because the imposition of pre-payment conditions to Japanese travel agents and wholesalers might drive them to look for better alternative destinations in our neighboring countries.
The tour operators, however, expressed their readiness to have a dialogue with the hotels and resorts especially in Cebu, "but this is only possible if you (Durano) can bring us together to define our common objective which is to lift the tourism industry so we can contribute to our economic recovery. …