SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – Tourism establishments here were directed by officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to start collecting Environment and Tourism Administrative Fee (ETAF) from tourists as the new policy was officially implemented last March 4.
During a public forum held here last March 12, SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia reminded tourism establishments or facilities owners to follow guidelines on collecting ETAF to avoid being fined or penalized.
Garcia stressed that the fund from the collection would “defray the costs for the continued protection and conservation of the environment.”
The new policy imposes P100 per room per night for hotels and other accommodation facilities for the first 5 nights of stay, and P50 per room per night on the 6th night onwards.
Meanwhile, a P20 fee will be collected per head in theme parks, beaches, swimming pools, cinemas, museums, amusement and other tourism establishments or events with fixed entrance fees, or 10 % of the fixed entrance fee, whichever is lower.
Investors who attended the forum, however, raised concerns related to losing clients and profit, saying the new fees would discourage tourists from visiting or staying inside the Freeport.
Hotels and theme parks owners said they are worried that ETAF collection might also create confusion among their patrons that might even lead to complaints concerning the fees.
Evelyn Renion, general manager of the Casablanca Hotel and Condominium here, said the new fees would be a “burden” to hotel guests who might be surprised to find additional charges in their hotel bills.
Danny Tan, President of Subic Bay International Hotel, also expressed apprehension over the collection of ETAF, especially because many locators like them were informed about its implementation just recently.
Tan said aside that from confusing tourists, the ETAF collection would also complicate their sales system since they were unsure how to add this new fee to their official receipts.
Garcia reiterated that they have already carried out various information activities to properly inform tourists about the new fee. He added that they would provide tourism establishments with notices of the implementation of the guidelines. – Rappler.com
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