Philippine Tourism Department Warns Of Fake Travel Agencies

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines has warned the public of the proliferation of fake travel agencies online that are offering too-good-to-be-true travel packages both for domestic and international destinations.

With the number of fake travel agencies victims continues to rise, the DOT said the public should be cautious when dealing with online travel agents and booking trips online.

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DOT Assistant Secretary Daniel Mercado said one of the best ways to determine if the travel agency one is dealing with is legitimate is to check with the website of the DOT.

“You can get a complete listing at our website accreditationonline.tourism.gov.ph or check with establishments if they have appropriate certificates and quality seals,” he said.

Before paying online, Mercado suggested that due diligence should be made in making sure that the website has appropriate security sockets.

DOT data showed that the number of domestic tourists in the Philippines reached 65 million last year. The Tourism Department is targeting a total of 73 million domestic tourists this year.

Cebu was top destination for local tourists last year with 3.4 million, followed by Camarines Sur with 1.87 million and Davao del Sur with 1.86 million. Albay and Boracay took the fourth and fifth spots with 1.82 million and 1.73 million, respectively.

Aware of the rising cases of fake travel agency victims, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said it would be best to transact with travel agents face to face when booking trips.

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PTAA President Marlene Dado Jante also urged the public to deal with PTAA-member agencies to make it easier to reach agents should the customers have concerns or complaints with their bookings. – BusinessNewsAsia.com