DOT plans to roll out separate rating system for hostels, pension houses, home-stays

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Sept. 21 (PNA) — There is very little chance for budget accommodations such as hostels, pension houses, home-stays, and the like to receive even one star from the Department of Tourism (DOT) under its Star Rating system.

However, the good news is that the DOT is planning to create a separate rating system with “appropriate” standards for the said accommodations.

DOT Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin told reporters on the sidelines of a tourism event on Monday that this way, business owners will not completely lose their investment but be allowed time to further improve their services while complying with standards set by the agency.

“…We’re formulating standards for hostels, pension houses, home-stays. The standards will be—I wouldn’t say lower standards–but appropriate standards which will be different from the Star Rating system,” Jasmin said.

Launched in 2012, the Star Rating system is a five-star grading system which mainly focuses on inventory, availability, condition, and quality of a specific facility or service. An establishment recognized in the DOT Star Rating system means that they comply with internationally-recognized standards.

All DOT-accredited establishments will get results of the first assessment under the Star Rating system by November.

Jasmin pointed out that the “ideal” situation for tourism establishments is to ensure accreditation from DOT before local government units (LGUs) permit them to operate.

“If they do not have a DOT accreditation, the permit to operate should not be issued by LGUs,” the DOT official said, referring to the “ideal” situation. However, this was not the case.

Jasmin said that the reality was that there are hotels that use the term hotel despite not having the standard to operate as one.

While non-accredited establishments should even be at risk of being closed, she said that it would not be the agency’s authority to do so.

“We (the DOT) do not have the authority to close (an establishment). It’s the LGU who should close,” she added. Given the current situation, she said that a rating system different from the Star Rating system might be necessary.

Over the thousand of tourism accommodations in the country, Jasmin said that only 740 of them have been accredited to date. Of the 740, 40 to 50 percent still need to correct so-called deficiencies. (PNA)