Hotel star rating roils tourism industry
A tourism industry leader has urged Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. to hold a dialogue with hoteliers and resort owners to thresh out the issue of the new star-rating system for guest accommodations of the Department of Tourism.
Robert Lim Joseph, president of the Network of Independent Travel and Allied Services Philippines Inc. (Nitas), said hoteliers and resort owners around the country were against the new system because it was flawed.
The DOT project would rate hotels, resorts and apartelles nationwide using a 1- to 5-star system to supposedly conform to global standards.
Joseph said a dialogue would reveal how the rating system was drawn up and the people behind it.
“The hotels and resorts know their products and they know how to brand and market them. The DOT should be there to help, not kill the industry,” he said.
Joseph said foreigners were involved in the project to implement a star-rating system and the DOT was given a P320-million grant by the Canadian government through the Canadian International Development Agency.
Outdated rating system
Joseph, who said hoteliers and resort owners had aired their grievances to him, called on the DOT to reveal the conditions for the P320-million grant.
He said the hoteliers were surprised by the grant from Canada since that country did not have a government-sanctioned hotel rating system.
“Canada has no government rating system for hotels, so why is it financing a program it does not believe in?” he said.
Rating hotels and resorts using stars is outdated and the system is no longer used around the world, except for Ireland, he said.
Joseph said other countries did not rate their hotels as it was difficult to standardize criteria. They leave the rating of hotels and resorts to private organizations and publications.
Even the United States and the United Kingdom, the top two tourist destinations, leave it to travelers to do the rating and there are online sites where consumer reviews could be viewed, he said.
Tourism Undersecretary for Development Benito Bengzon Jr. assured the tourism stakeholders Jimenez and other DOT officials will meet with them to discuss the new rating system.
He said a date had yet to be set for the meeting.
Plantation Bay Holdings Corp., owner of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa on Mactan island in Cebu, has filed a case in the Ombudsman against Jimenez, Undersecretary Ma. Victoria Jasmin, DOT accreditation division head Jose Tolentino and the department’s foreign consultants for “arbitrary and capricious implementation of an unnecessary star grading system for Philippine tourism enterprises.”—Jeannette I. Andrade
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