Filipinos urged to deal only with legit travel agencies to avoid scams
An umbrella organization of the country’s largest travel agencies is urging Filipinos to deal only with “legitimate and reputable” organizations when booking their overseas and local trips amid a growing proliferation of scams preying on the travel boom.
In a press briefing, officials of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) advised would-be tourists that holiday inconveniences can be avoided if travel needs are coursed through the members of the association.
“We have seen in December, during one of the peak season of travel, that some of our countrymen were not able to enjoy their travels for an assortment of reasons with some even barred from reaching their destination,” PTAA president Ritchie Tuano said.
The PTAA has over 600 members with 68 percent of them being travel agencies that are in operations nationwide.
“As an association, the PTAA has been a long-time partner of the government in its push to grow the country’s tourism industry,” Tuano said. “On the part of our members, we are providing them with year round activities to put them in the best position to serve the public with all their travel needs and requirements.”
The warning came as the organization launched this year’s Travel Tour Expo, now on its 26th edition, which will formally open on February 8 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City
Organization of the country’s biggest annual travel and tourism event expect a record 135,000 Filipinos to troop to the three-day event.
“Over the years, the Travel Tour Expo has become synonymous with great travel deals and we aim to keep that as we open the expo in February,” organizing committee chair Marlene Dado Jante said. “Everything that our countrymen needs for their travels in 2019 will be at the expo.”
More than 400 exhibitors will be participating, including the biggest airlines, hotels, resorts, theme parks, cruise lines worldwide. It will all feature all the tourism stakeholders in the country, embassies, and national tourism organizations. The expo will again cover the entire 16,230 square meters of floor space and will be open for a combined 32 hours during its three-day run.
She said with a potential record high number of foot traffic, the organizing committee will look at the possibility of still extending the expo’s operating hours to accommodate everyone.
Over the last three years, the expo has seen an increase in foot traffic of at least 10 percent annually. /kga
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