April 21, 2024

Scamming and the presence of colorum transient house owners and agents, along with the proliferation of unlicensed operations, have adversely impacted the income of legitimate transient business owners, an official of the Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) said.

This is why the PLD headed by Allan Abayao heightened their surveillance during the Panagbenga Festival after receiving reports of fraudulent activities and unauthorized operation of transient accommodations in the city.

Alberto Pasagoy, Jr., a transient agent with nearly two decades of experience, said he is encountering a decline in income from transient bookings for the first time due to the pervasive presence of scammers and unregistered operators. He estimated that 50 percent of tourists visiting Baguio have fallen victim to scams, and some of them are returning to agents seeking help in finding legitimate transient accommodations. He said scams occur when tourists make online reservations and are asked to pay before actually seeing the place.

“Manny,” another agent, said scammers use images of hotels and condominiums to show their customers but when tourists visit the location, they discover that the accommodation does not exist.

Due to these occurrences, tourists now opt to stay in hotels instead of transient lodgings to avoid scams and ensure greater security. Consequently, this leads to a decrease in revenue for transient property owners.

In line with this, Abayao said the PLD had been giving advisories to the public to be cautious about their transactions. He suggested for tourists to also check the Visita app for a list of legitimate transient houses.

In collaboration with the Department of Tourism, the PLD is stepping up efforts to encourage online registration to counter scams and unregistered businesses, ensuring compliance with business standards. – Krizia Mae Pagusan