By Hanah Tabios
The Department of Tourism (DOT) will grant provisional accreditation to tourism enterprises that are yet to complete the application process but plan to resume operations under the “new normal” setup.
Tourism enterprises include travel and tour services; tourist transport services, whether for land, sea or air transportation; tour guides; adventure sports services involving such sports as mountaineering, spelunking, scuba diving, and other sports activities of significant tourism potential; convention organizers; accommodation establishments operators; tourism estate management services; restaurants; shops and department stores; sports and recreational centers; spas; museums and galleries; theme parks; convention centers; and zoos.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 2020-005 or the Interim Accreditation Guidelines issued on June 13, DOT said it may grant an applicant tourism enterprise a temporary accreditation effective for one year, provided that it is found compliant with the minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health (DOH), as well as with the health and safety protocols for the operation of tourism facilities and services imposed by the DOT.
Considering circumstances where on-site inspection might not be possible, the department said they will instead conduct a virtual inspection through video conferencing, which will be administered by the regional tourism office with jurisdiction over the area, to check the applicant’s premises.
“The certificate of provisional accreditation shall be valid for one year and shall be renewable thereafter unless sooner revoked for cause,” the guidelines read.
The documentary requirements for first-time tourism enterprises applicants include an application form, self-assessment form, valid mayor’s or business permit, and a sworn statement of undertaking.
Renewing establishments will need to submit almost the same requirements, except the self-assessment form.
The interim guidelines cover all tourism enterprises, but hotels, resorts, apartment hotels, Mabuhay accommodations, and homestays are the ones that are only included under the classification of accommodation establishments.
In addition, accommodation establishments that have been granted with a certificate of provisional accreditation will automatically be granted a provisional certificate of authority to operate.
This is in accordance with DOT Administrative Order No. 2020-002 or the Guidelines on the Operations of Hotels and Accommodation Establishments which seek to operate during community quarantine.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat has said that the application for accreditation is free of charge as they have already waived the fees for both new and renewal applications amid the crisis.