The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is planning to partner a Manila-based university or college on courses to grow the labour pool and professionalise the industry, beleaguered by untrained practitioners and fly-by-night operators.
In tandem with the institution, PTAA will come up with a programme featuring subjects on travel agency operations and experiences that will be integrated into the curriculum.
The programme will have 60 per cent fieldwork and 40 per cent lecture component. PTAA secretary-general Paul So said that the plan, first broached during the tenure of PTAA president Jojo Clemente years ago, would require some PTAA members to dedicate their time to educate students.
So, who together with former tourism secretary Narzalina Lim, has been teaching would-be travel agents the basics for years now, said many travel agents lack knowledge and training hence “need to be educated too”.
PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante said the operation of legitimate agencies are being affected by fly-by-night operators that have questionable track records and don’t have the necessary permits, accreditation and training.
A growing concern, said Jante, is the emergence of new groups offering those who want to start a travel agency enticing packages such as having operations up and running from day one at a very minimal cost.
These groups pitch for sizeable returns per booking for airfare, ferry ticketing, hotel bookings and domestic and international tours. They also promise that those who will avail of the packages can do the business home-based or from anywhere in the country, contrary to existing rules and regulations governing travel agencies.
Jante said PTAA would coordinate with concerned government agencies to track these suspicious travel agencies and stop them.