Senior Board Member Tita V. Baja (3rd district) appealed to Bohol tourist operators, particularly tourist drivers, not to take advantage of their visitors.

Baja issued the call as a response to the unscrupulous tourist van drivers who preyed on tourists by overcharging them with high commission. She received a report about overcharging with P500 per tourist.

“Please don’t do that,” she said in vernacular since it would not only discourage the visitors to come here, but put Bohol in bad light.

“Bahala’g gamay, basta kanunay,” she quoted a Chinese saying in running a business.

Bohol was noted to be an excessive tourist destination following the uproar in Virgin islet, off Panglao town, where the charging of food stuff to domestic tourists was found to be exorbitant. This prompted the provincial government to make the islet’s white sandbar off limits to food sellers.

Reports said that van drivers ferrying their visitors to Chocolate Hills in barangay Buenos Aires, Carmen town are demanding high commission to the dismay of other all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators.

Those ATV operators who can give them what the drivers are demanding also charge the expenses to the visitors, like high rates of ATV rent, according to one operator, who sent a letter to the provincial board.

Baja said that this is one of the points, like regulating the prices or commissions, may be considered in crafting the new Bohol Tourism Code, which is now 90% complete.

New concrete step in controlling pricey tourism charges is for the operators and drivers included to be accredited with the provincial government as suggested by Governor Aumentado. Failure on the part of tour operators/drivers means they cannot operate, Baja said.

She said that she welcomes any bright ideas in improving the crafting of the code.
As to the query if some local government units (LGUs) are involved in the tourism industry, by which most of the private sector is running, Baja said in the positive.

She cited the recent launching of the Loop Dive Expo, an attempt to discover other dive sites. The said activity was held recently in the Capitol building with Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) at the helm.

One concrete example of the tourism venture is the Quinale beach resort, owned and managed by the Anda municipal government.

The resort with its powdery white sand minerals in kilometric shoreline is a public beach and thousands of both domestic and foreign tourists frequent the place, Mayor Inday Simacio once said.

It is now under refurbishment and once complete it may open this Christmas, the mayor added.
PADO has already surveyed the underwater world in Jagna town, where richness and wreckage are abound, said Jojo Arcay, co-founder of PADO.

PADO may soon start the underwater survey for potential dive sites in Mabini, Candijay, Anda, Guindulman, Duero, Garcia-Hernandez, Valencia and other towns, PADO president Ivy Kung said in a media interview.

Baja said that municipal tourism officers are also involved in the consultation relative to crafting of the code.