Opposition surfaces to mandatory tourism colegio

The first opposition to a proposed colegio de  profesionales en turismo emerged at the legislature Thursday.

The concerns about the proposal were voiced by representatives of the relatively new Asociación para la Protección del Turismo. Earlier in the week, the proposal received support from the Cámera Nacional de Turismo.

The proposal for a legally binding colegio has been advanced by the Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo. Basically the bill would turn that private organization into the colegio and specify that those involved in the tourism business must have a university education.

The discussion Thursday was before the  Comisión Permanente Especial de Turismo, which is considering the bill.

Boris Marchegiani, president of the Asociación para la Protección del Turismo and another member, Hernán Quirós, voiced reservations.

Quiros noted that the bill would bar colegio membership by anyone who did not have a professional diploma. Many tourism employees obtain their training through agencies like the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje. Many employees in tourism operations have not finished secondary school, he noted.
A.M. Costa Rica pointed out a week ago that one deficiency in the bill is that it does not define what job levels would require colegio membership.

The legal minimum salary for a university grad is set by law at 441,531 colons a month until Jan. 1 when the amount is likely to be increased. That is about $896.50 a month.

A colegio is a professional organization created by law that sets up a system of self-governance for the persons who work in the field. There are colegios here for physicians and surgeons, nurses, lawyers, librarians, dentists, accountants, engineers, biologists, journalists and many others.

The current bill is unusual in that it would automatically incorporate members of the association into the colegio and give them exclusivity for public and private tourism jobs. Tourism colegio members would be covered by the same general laws that prohibit and penalize working as a lawyer or a physician without being a member of a colegio.

A summary of the testimony before the committee said that the two men were seeking changes in a number of the articles of the proposal.

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