MANILA -- The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) on Thursday said that it is reviving plans to open a travel agency school to increase the manpower pool and professionalize the industry.

PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante, in a statement, said the travel group would initially partner with a Metro Manila based university or college that currently offer travel industry related courses.

Under the plan, the educational institution would have its students experience the actual operations of a travel agency and will be more practical in its applications than theoretical.

The PTAA will draft a program that will have 60 percent fieldwork and 40 percent lecture.

Integrated into the curriculum, the program will also feature subjects on the operations and experiences of a travel agency.

Jante, meanwhile, warned the public against the proliferation of fly-by-night travel agencies easily available to most Filipinos.

She said that the operations of agencies are being affected by bogus travel agencies that do not issue necessary permits, accreditations, and trainings.

The PTAA President urged travelers to seek legitimate travel agencies such as PTAA members which have necessary government permits, have existing offices, networks and partners also continuously receives regular professional and educational development programs from to further expand their operations and improve their services.

"We want the public to closely check the credibility of a travel agency before doing any business with them. People should be very wary of these so-called travel agencies with zero or very questionable track records,” Jante said.

“It not only puts their travel at risk but also impacts the reputation of legitimate travel agencies," she added.

Jante, meanhwhile, said the the PTA will coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, Securities and Exchange Commission, and concerned local government units to trace these groups and suspicious travel agencies to have their operations stopped.

“We are taking a pro-active stance on this because there is a lot at stake both for the traveling public and the legitimate travel agencies operating in the country,” Jante said.

The PTAA counts close to 500 travel agency members nationwide with staffing of close to 8,000 individuals. (PNA)