Manila, Philippines – Travel agency owners nationwide and tourism stakeholders have appealed to President Beningo S. Aquino III to intercede and ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to review its directive disallowing travel agencies from offering passport processing services to passport applicants effective January 1 next year.
In a letter to the President, tourism industry leader Robert Lim Joseph, writing on behalf of small travel agencies nationwide, said the DFA directive is unreasonable and discriminatory towards small travel agencies all over the country and unfair to people who want to avail themselves of travel agency services.
Joseph, chairman emeritus of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) and chairman of the Tourism Educators and Movers Philippines (TEAM Philippines) and Travel Cooperative of the Philippines, was approached by small travel agencies around the country to air their grievances about the DFA directive issued last June 21.
He informed the President that the directive was issued without consultations with travel agencies and other industry stakeholders as well as the public that will also be affected by it.
“The policy is unfair towards people who want to avail of our services and “dictatorial“ as it totally prevents them from seeking our assistance in the processing of their passports,“ Joseph said.
He asked why the DFA should prevent people who are willing to pay extra money to travel agencies to avail themselves of their services. “People who want to avail of travel agency services have the same right as people who want to go directly to the DFA and file their application there.“
Joseph said busy people like businessmen, traders, and professionals and those living in far areas and outside of the city are willing to pay extra for the services of travel agencies, which would also be incurring added communication, transportation, or administrative expense for the client in processing their passport.