A new law could make it illegal for trike drivers, viagra sellers and other service providers to pester tourists.
House Bill 1828, or the proposed Anti-Harassment of Tourists Act, has been filed by Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas.
“The tourism industry is vital in our economic development as it has contributed 7.8 per cent to the country’s domestic product,” he said.
“Thus, not only does tourism help spread our heritage, but it also supports the grassroots economy, advances work creation and increases the consumption of local produce.”
Vargas said he had received numerous reports of tourists being bullied by local vendors and service providers to make them buy their products or use their services.
He said this causes visitors to be “traumatised” and thus unlikely to return to the Philippines.
The bill states: “It shall be unlawful for a person to repeatedly and aggressively solicit business from tourists who have already expressed their desire not to be bothered by solicitations.”
If enacted, the law would direct the Department of Tourism (DOT) to coordinate with local government to provide training for vendors and service providers on “responsible marketing practices”.
Traders found contravening the new law would be given a warning for the first offence, and then fined 500 pesos for subsequent infractions.
Data from the DOT show that a total of 532,757 tourists visited the country in the month of May alone, an increase of nearly 20 per cent on the same month last year.
“Generally speaking, the world holds the Philippines in high regard, from our world-class destinations and wonderful tourists attractions to the warmth and hospitality of Filipinos,” Mr Vargas said.
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