The Department of Tourism said they are coordinating with the relevant agencies regarding the alleged overpricing of seafood by vendors on Virgin Island, a sandbar popularly visited by tourists coming from Panglao in Bohol.
The move comes after government officials in Bohol ordered the suspension of boat trips to Virgin Island in response to a viral Facebook post that showed a group of 13 tourists being charged PHP26,1000 (US$468.53) for the seafood and drinks they ordered at a restaurant on the island.
The post has been shared over 18,000 times as of the time of writing.
“We are grateful to social media because it has given us a solid reason for the Sanggunian Panlalawigan (government council) to craft resolutions or ordinances that provide protection and order to tourists that have been exploited for a long time by some businessmen in Panglao and other cities. We will provide proper service, and we should welcome the tourists as our guests because they provide us with livelihood,” Governor Aris Aumentado said on Facebook.
A part of the Panglao Island Protected Seascape, the Virgin Island is an hour’s drive away from mainland Panglao in Bohol.
Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said this is a matter that the Department of Tourism (DOT) takes seriously “especially as it concerns the welfare of tourists whose continued support for our destinations is critical to the recovery of the tourism industry.”
The DOT said it was coordinating with the trade and industry department to uphold reasonable price standards for tourist goods such as food.
“While the DOT understands the current predicament and challenges faced by many tourism-related businesses and establishments that are gradually recouping losses due to previously imposed travel restrictions, I believe that due care must always be given to the overall experience of tourists whether it concerns upholding the quality of accommodations, attaining a certain level of service, or ensuring the reasonable pricing of products,” she said.