Island-hopping tour off Samal Island

DAVAO CITY – The Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) is set to clamp down on unlicensed online tour companies operating here.

CTOO head Generose Tecson said their office had received numerous complaints against online tour operators who often provide island hopping tours, such as those around the coast of Samal Island and adjacent islets.

“What these online operators do is they rent a boat at 40 person capacity, price it at P400- P500 per head, without meals, so the tour is prepaid. The problem arises when some of the clients arrive late because those who arrived early for the tour are greatly inconvenienced by these arrangements,” Tecson revealed.

Tecson also said the online outfits also used “false advertisements” to lure more customers. “These online operators advertise the destinations in the tour yet they would just pass these destinations along the way and the tourists would think they would stop in these places,” she said.

Marketing their tour packages through social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, these operators “would post great-looking photos of a destination and announce on their captions the tour arrangements including the cost of the tour package,” the city tourism chief pointed out.

Tecson stressed that online tour operators should have the requisite permits and documents such as business license, a CTOO permit and those from other regulatory offices together with the Department of Tourism accreditation.

The CTOO will issue cease-and-desist orders until they secure the relevant business permits and other documents.
Another concern expressed by Tecson is the safety of tourists as many of the destinations are adventure packages.
The city tourism chief advised potential clients to ask for the permits from the online operators and to report to their office if the tourists “have been shortchanged” by emailing them at

The CTTO is also on the lookout for event organizers operating without business permits. (JojoMangahis / PressOnePH)