ELEVEN hotels and resorts in Cebu with a total of 1,700 rooms can now operate as multiple-use facilities.
By multiple-use, it means the property can be used for quarantine and staycation, said Alfred Reyes, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC).
Seven more properties with close to a thousand rooms are awaiting approval and are subject to the Department of Tourism and Department of Health inspections.
“We are happy that Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat is very hands-on in fast-tracking this request, particularly in helping us get the nod of the Department of Health (DOH),” said Reyes.
Reyes said the multiple-use approval is timely as the industry awaits the resumption of Cebu-bound international flights by June 13 and the possible expansion in the number of airline passengers, which the HRRAC has been lobbying for with the government’s Covid-19 task force.
The approval, he added, is also a big boost to the ailing accommodation sector, which has been suffering from the big blow of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said this will help the industry reopen the economy and spur local domestic travel.
“This is good news. At least we will be able to fill more rooms,” said Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu general manager Björn Buth.
HRRAC targets to increase the number of quarantine rooms to 5,000 from the current 3,600 rooms.
Reyes assured guests that multiple-use properties have separate entrance and exit points for quarantine and non-quarantine guests.
“These properties are inspected by the DOT and DOH to make sure quarantined persons must not be able to access public areas and must stay inside their rooms until they finish their quarantine period,” he said, noting that these are some of the strict guidelines under the multiple-use category.
Before, hotels and resorts were made to choose whether to operate as purely staycation or purely quarantine facilities.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has backed the proposed “green lane” for vaccinated foreign travelers to revive the country’s tourism industry.
The BI said it supports the proposal to allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the country as part of its efforts to revive the country’s inbound tourism industry and reopen the country’s borders.
“If approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), we in the bureau, support this initiative by the DOT as it will not only resuscitate our tourism industry, it will also generate employment for millions of Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Morente said he trusts the wisdom of the IATF-MEID in deciding the appropriate time to reopen the country’s borders. (JOB with KOC)