THE Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited accommodation establishments with Certificates of Authority to Operate for Staycation may now accommodate guests for staycation up to 100 percent venue capacity.
DOT-accredited accommodation establishments in areas under general communtiy quarantine (GCQ), on the other hand, may accommodate guests for leisure purposes for up to 30 percent of their venue capacity subject to DOT guidelines and other conditions.
Stakeholders in Cebu welcomed this development, saying this will encourage more players to gradually open their properties and resume their business.
“This is really something that hotels/resorts can bank on in preparation for the road to recovery, though there is still a long way to go,” said Myla Infante Mohammad, director of sales and marketing at Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu.
“But even with the allowed capacity of 100 percent for staycation, without international tourists and with other major cities and provinces still imposing strict travel restrictions and procedures, hotels and resorts may still not achieve full capacity,” Mohammad said.
To be able to maximize the allowed 100 percent capacity, Mohammad said “non-essential travelers who have already been vaccinated, and tourists from highly vaccinated countries should be allowed to travel while still observing the minimum health and safety protocols.”
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Thursday, May 27, 2021, approved the request of the DOT for DOT-accredited accommodation establishments in GCQ areas to accept leisure guests.
The resolution will also no longer require guests to undergo a Covid-19 test following the recommendation of health experts that strict symptoms screening and observance of minimum public health standards are sufficient measures for staycation guests.
“This will bring back significant revenue, especially to small hotels and private resorts in GCQ areas during the summer season. We continue to issue the reminder that the safety of guests, residents and host communities should never be compromised,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat in a statement.
But while this is an encouraging development for the ailing tourism sector, the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said the sector in Cebu is struggling following the diversion of Cebu-bound flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Malacañang ordered all international flights bound for Mactan-Cebu International Airport to be diverted to the NAIA from May 29 to June 5, 2021 in an apparent rebuke of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia over her implementation of testing and quarantine policy for overseas Filipino workers and returning overseas Filipinos that differs from the policy set by the IATF-MEID for all ports of entry nationwide.
Twelve flights in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport have been affected.
HRRAC Alfred Reyes said in an earlier interview that quarantine hotels in Cebu expect to lose millions of pesos in revenues because of the rerouting of flights.
”We will be really badly hit because of that decision coming from Malacañang. However, we all know that these are basically decisions coming from our government. We, as a private entity, will abide by and follow whatever the decisions coming from the government,” said Reyes.
He noted that amid the easing of the lockdown, the confidence of people traveling is still very low.
“Until all are vaccinated, consumer confidence remains questionable,” he said.
Relying on local market
Reyes said the industry in Cebu continues to lean on the local market and the occasional authorized persons outside of residence from Manila and other provinces.
“But it’s not enough to sustain the occupancy of hotels right now,” he said.
Reyes said Cebu remains at an advantage compared to other areas since its Covid-19 cases have been low recently and controlled.
The entire Cebu island had 1,369 Covid-19 cases as of May 30.
“We hope it will be what our travelers in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces outside Cebu would look at. Cebu is now very safe to travel to for those who want to look at leisure and businesses. Cebu has really regulated its cases, which are very low,” he said.
Cebu, which is under modified GCQ, or the most relaxed quarantine classification, is open for domestic tourism with requirements depending on the local government unit. (JOB, KOC)