DOT, Grab sign deal for sustainable PHL tourism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019   •   632

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Grab Philippines have signed an agreement to promote national tourism.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked on Wednesday, tourism materials developed and produced by the DOT showcasing the Philippines’ destination sites will be promoted and disseminated by Grab through its partner vehicles and mobile application.

DOT, Grab and the Intramuros Administration also launched “GrabWheels,” a two-wheel personal mobility device (commonly called e-scooters) that tourists can use to roam around the Walled City.

Around 30 units of GrabWheels will be made available for public use within Intramuros, free of charge for at least three months.

“This is in keeping with the efforts of the DOT to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This is what we envision to do to some, and ideally, to all of our destinations. We want visitors to have access to an eco-friendly but fun mode of transportation,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the MOU signing. 

“Sustainability demands that our planning and resources management must be responsible. Conversely, it should also maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure meaningful experience of our tourists,” she stressed.

The Intramuros Administration also noted that these e-scooters will provide less carbon footprint and significantly reduce traffic congestion, which is a major problem in the area.

“This is just a pilot test. After a month, we will review its reception and determine the necessary mechanisms and setting of fees to make it sustainable,” Atty. Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration said.

Puyat also expressed hope that DOT’s partnership with Grab PH will help raise awareness among the public about the environmental issues facing the country.

“This partnership, hopefully, will raise their awareness about environmental issues and allow them to experience first-hand these sustainable tourism practices,” she said. 

Intramuros adjusts opening hour of Fort Santiago dungeons to fix long lines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2020

The Intramuros Administration said they will adjust the opening schedule of the dungeons of Fort Santiago to fix long lines and waiting time of visitors.

In their Facebook post, the Intramuros Administration announced they will adjust their time schedule for the dungeons of Fort Santiago from 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting Sunday (February 16).

“We would like to assure the public that we are taking steps to address current concerns such as long lines and waiting period. We are dedicated to ensuring a better experience for everyone,” their post reads.

The administration also reiterateed their commitment to make Intramuros “more fun than ever”.—AAC

Duterte asks local carriers, hotels to help boost PH tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Tourism industry stakeholders agreed to help boost domestic travel by offering discounted airfare and hotel rates following a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Malacañang said.

Duterte called for the meeting to discuss plans to counter the negative effects of the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to promote the country’s tourism sector to local tourists.

The move comes after the Philippine government imposed a temporary entry ban on foreign nationals who travelled to virus-hit areas in China and its special administrative regions, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in the past 14 days in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

Chinese and Taiwanese nationals, as well as South Koreans, are among the country’s top visitors.

Malacañang said that during the meeting, the president revealed that some of the country’s major airlines and hotels agreed to offer lower rates to make a viable market for local tourists.

“The President wants Filipinos to visit the country’s local tourist destinations to boost the industry in the midst of the coronavirus scare,” the Palace said in a press statement.

Duterte also said that local tourism industry has a lot to offer as he highlighted the country’s “good public health and law and order situation.”

“Local tourist spots are also readily accessible,” the Palace added.

The chief executive also expressed optimism that like other epidemics, the COVID-19 will eventually be contained, Malacañang said.

Among those who attended the meeting held in Pasay City were Philippine Hotel Owners Association President Arthur Lopez, AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla, Philippine Airlines President Gilbert Santamaria, and Cebu Pacific Air President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato, Tourism Assistant Secretary Howard Lance Uyking and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go were also present.

In a press conference after the meeting, Romulo-Puyat revealed that Duterte will also help promote domestic travel by visiting top tourist destinations beginning next week.

She said the president may visit Boracay, Cebu and Bohol in a bid to prove that domestic travel remains safe amid novel coronavirus threat.

Romulo-Puyat also said that the tourism sector would intensify its promotions and roll out more value-added packages, discounted accommodation and airfare for local tourists in the coming days.

Grab PH slapped with new fines of P16-M for overcharging, driver cancellations

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Transport network vehicle service (TNVS) company Grab Philippines is facing new fines worth P16 million for exceeding driver cancellations and overcharging.

Because of these reasons, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ruled that Grab violated its pricing commitment to its clients.

“Grab should pay P14.5 million after its price surges went beyond the cap set by regulators, and P2 million for exceeding the allowed driver cancellations to 7.76% instead of the committed 5%,” the PCC said.

In response, Grab Philippines said it acknowledged the findings of the PCC but argued that the lack of drivers to service the growing commuter demands, coupled with the worsening traffic situation, commonly resulted in driver cancellations.

The ride-hailing company promised to refund the total computed administrative penalty of P14.15 million through GrabPay credits of those passengers who took Grab rides from May 11 to August 10, 2019.

Grab will then pay PCC the remaining P2 million.

In November, PCC asked Grab to pay over P23 million pesos for overcharging. – MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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