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DOT to hold dialogue with critics of new rating system

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to hold talks to appease critics of the new star rating system for hotels and resorts in the Philippines.

DOT undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin, who is shepherding the new star rating system, said they would be in talks with the Network of Independent Travel & Allied Services Philippines Inc.

No definite date has been set yet for the dialogue.

Plantation Bay Holdings Corp., owner of the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan Island, filed a case last month before the Office of the Ombudsman against DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin, Accreditation Division head Jose Tolentino and the agency’s foreign consultants for the alleged arbitrary and capricious implementation of “an unnecessary star grading system for Philippine tourism enterprises.”

“What is important is that there is communication and we continue with the dialogue. Everybody is looking to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement,” Tourism undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

Furthermore, the Tourism department is not expecting any other case to be filed against them regarding the new star rating system.

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“We believe the accreditation system is something that will help the industry and the country to move forward,” Bengzon said.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the new star rating system to more than 700 accredited tourism accommodation providers will push through on the third week of November.

The star rating system is in line with the efforts of the department to raise the bar for Philippine hotels and resorts and align them with that of the global standards.

“This is a system by which we are able to come up with a standard that will make us competitive. A set of standards that the international community will understand,” Bengzon said.

The formal classification comprises of five levels ranging from one to five stars, which is based on a point system focusing on inventory, availability, condition and quality of facilities. The previously used “deluxe,” “first-class,” “standard,” and “economy” classification will soon be dropped.


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