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Spa, massage owners should have DOT accreditation–exec

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 09:02 AM September 04, 2012

A tourism official is calling on local spa and massage operators to help encourage all their colleagues to get a Department of Tourism (DOT) accreditation for their

businesses.

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Regional Director Rowena Montecillo of the DOT Central Visayas made this call to implement regulations and standards set by the tourism department for these type of businesses.

Montecillo told Cebu Daily News yesterday that she agreed with Johnny Siao, director of the Spa and Wellness Association (SWAC), who earlier proposed that a ratings system be put in place to uplift the standards of spa and massage operations in Cebu.

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“We cannot, however, do a rating system for them like what we do with hotels. But our accreditation is a good enough mechanism to achieve what the private sector wants to achieve—which is to make Cebu a destination for spa and wellness. We will, however, need their help for this ,” said Montecillo.

The Tourism Department has only a few accredited spa operators, who are mostly from the major resorts and hotels.

Montecillo said that this situation could be improved through a partnership with the private sector and the DOT.

“For now the accreditation is voluntary but they (private sector) can help us. We have been campaigning for massage and spa operators to get accredited by us. And they can help us make other people aware and encourage them to get accredited by us,” said Montecillo

She said that this initiative could be achieved with the help of the Cebu Health and Wellness Council.

According to Montecillo, getting accredited is easy.

“They need only have Mayor’s permit, list of employees and trained therapists and a certification from DOH (Department of Health) that they have passed their standards as well. Then we inspect their facilities and that’s the process. I don’t think that’s difficult to comply,” said Montecillo.

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The tourism department is also open to the idea of being partners with the private sector to help police and make sure that the establishments follow the regulations and standards set by the tourism department.

CHWC director Jenny Franco agrees.

Franco said that members of her group were following the classifications set by the DOT for every spa establishment.

She suggested that the local government should also be tapped to help in this initiative and not only the health department, tourism department, trade and industry department as mentioned by Siao.

“The respective local governments are needed to make this work because not all register their businesses with DTI. From that level alone we can already set some regulations,” said Franco.

The Spa and Wellness Association of Cebu is a member of CHWC which is now meeting regularly among members to really layout a map for Cebu’s health and wellness industry.

“Considering that we have lots of tourists already coming here, we should then see to it that everything is well above standard not only the hotels and restaurants,” said Franco.

Earlier Siao proposed that there be a rating system for spa and massage operators to differentiate one from the other.

Siao said that some massage parlors mislead customers by putting in the word “spa” in their name when actually they would only offer massage.

He said that a ratings system would help regulate how spa and massage parlors operate.

Former Tourism regional director Dawnie Roa, CHWC director, said that well regulated spa and wellness industry in Cebu would benefit the whole industry and the tourism of Cebu which is part of improving the product of Cebu to better compete not only locally but globally.

“Cebu is already a known destination. How do we entice them to come is through our products which includes spa. A system that will regulate and enforce operators to follow standards will help improve our spa and wellness product,” said Roa.

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