La Paz is a popular tourist destination for its many different excursions and tours. That’s one of the best parts about visiting the community; it seems like there is something for every visitor.
However, recently tourists have been complaining that they have reserved packages or tours with local providers only to be turned away when showing up for the tour.
This led to a follow-up from local officials in La Paz, who uncovered a number of vendors illegally selling fake packages and tours at discounted rates to tourists.
Fake Tour Package Scam
The La Paz Director of Municipal Tourism, Natalia Ruffo Castaño, recently had a number of her investigators look into the claims made by tourists alleging the sale of fake tour packages in La Paz.
The investigation concluded that, in fact, fake vacation packages were being sold to tourists on the boardwalk of La Paz. The complaints made to local officials with the Port Authority, La Paz Tourist Police and the La Paz City Council were indeed accurate.
Castaño has called for local officials to regulate the commercial activities on the boardwalk.
Tour Packages For Travelers
La Paz is a popular destination for travelers looking for unique excursions and adventure travel.
Not only do visitors travel to La Paz for package tours related to whale watching and swimming with whale sharks, but they also buy excursions to see sea animals at Isla Espiritu Santo.
It’s common for vendors to walk along the boardwalk in La Paz, hawking the boat day trips and other tours to visitors in exchange for a commission on the sale.
For the boat owners, it gives them a sales force that is willing to pitch tours to tourists that are only paid when closing a sale.
Lack of Permits
La Paz does not have a permitting process in place to register official vendors of tours to ensure the safety of visitors to the community.
On the other hand, those at the marina selling the tours where the boat is located are required to have a standard business permit so that officials can monitor their activity and tourists can feel secure making the purchase.
The La Paz Director of Municipal Tourism has called for that to change, and local officials have agreed to finally monitor the vendors selling tours on the boardwalk and require them to be properly permitted.
A database of permitted vendors will be created, and tourism officials will plan enforcement actions to make sure that sellers are permitted, and tourists can rest assured that the tour sold will be honored.
A date for the creation of the database and the implementation of the permitting process has not yet been announced publicly.
How Tourists Can Stay Safe
Until the implementation of the permitting process, tourists should purchase their vacation tour packages at the official ticketing booths for the provider.
They should not purchase tour tickets on the boardwalk from unknown vendors.
Once the permitting process has been put into place, La Paz tourists should ask for an official permit issued by the city before making a purchase and should record not only the name of the vendor but also the number of the permit.
To make it even easier for La Paz visitors, they should simply take a picture of the vendor’s permit with a smartphone to document the vendor where the purchase was made.
They could also call the company represented by the vendor directly to ensure that the seller is indeed an official representative of the company authorized to be selling tours to visitors.
If a vendor seems suspicious, or if they feel pressured to buy, tourists should not make the purchase and report the activity to local tourism police officials instead.
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