Various tourist transportation operators in Bohol are opposing the reportedly looming entry of a large Iloilo-based company, which also offers transport services, into the province.
Local tourist transport companies have organized themselves into an association called Bohol Alliance of Tourist Transport Operators (BATTO) as part of efforts to block the entry of Southwest Travel and Tours.
The Bohol operators through BATTO have expressed concern over the possible expansion of the company into Bohol noting that it would significantly affect their smaller businesses.
Based on information gathered by local tourist transport operators, the Southwest Travel and Tours has already started to prepare required documents for its operations in the province.
The said firm which also operates in Boracay is a sister company of Hennan Group of Resorts which owns Henann Resort Alona Beach Bohol, a sprawling 6.5-hectare resort in Panglao.
BATTO, led by its coordinator, former Panglao mayor and tourist transportation operator Doloreich Dumaluan, noted that Bohol has enough vehicles to cater to visitors.
According to Dumaluan, there are around 700 tourist transportation units actively operating in the province including, however, the “colorum” or unregistered vehicles.
BATTO has also called on the provincial government to implement a “Bohol first” policy in the industry.
Meanwhile, the group is set to issue a position paper to concerned local government units, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
It will be noting that additional transportation units for tourist are not yet needed in the province, particularly as local operators have complied with required standards set by the LTFRB and DOTr.
BATTO is also intending to hold a meeting which will be attended by its members to further plan efforts to oppose Southwest’s Bohol entry. (A. Doydora)