70 tourist pump boats get DOT license

Johanna O. Bajenting

AS PART of its tourism development program, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 has accredited 70 island hopping pump boats in Central Visayas.

DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano told SunStar Cebu that the accreditation would pave the way for a standard and safer mode of water tourist transport in the region.

“We accredited 70 island hopping pump boats in the region. This is important and historic because this is the first time in the country. It’s an added security for our tourists,” said Tamano, adding that they will accredit more operators in the coming months.

As per DOT’s record there are about 2,000 tourist pump boats in the region that bring tourists to the different islands of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.

DOT 7 kicked off the accreditation in Mactan Island where it also led the organization of pump boat associations to gather and encourage operators to accredit their units.

“We will soon expand the accreditation to Moalboal, Malapascua, Panglao, Dauin, Apo Island and more,” he said.

For pump boats to be accredited with the DOT 7, operators have to pay P1,500 for the DOT accreditation. The vessels must also have proper safety equipment and tools, like life jackets, among others.

Under Republic Act 9593 known as the “Tourism Act of 2009,” the DOT shall be the primary planning, programming, coordinating, implementing and regulatory government agency in the development and promotion of the tourism industry, both domestic and international.

“We should not take it for granted because I believe that the island hopping in our region is one of our tourism pillars. If it’s gone, it’ll be difficult for us,” Tamano said.

“Since we want to upgrade everything, we want to make sure services provided by the crew are the best and we want to improve tourist transport in the region,” he added.

Central Visayas welcomed eight million tourist in 2018 and contributed about P44.2 billion in tourism revenues to the region’s economy.