Resort to add more rooms, facilities as tourism picks up

·4 min read

CLUB Serena Resort, a premier getaway located in Moalboal, south of Cebu, is expanding its rooms and amenities in anticipation of the return of foreign tourists after more than two years into the pandemic.

RJ Bautista, the resort’s general manager, said they are seeing signs of “revenge travel” after an uptick in bookings since the lifting of lockdowns in Cebu province and the reopening of the country’s borders took place.

“There are days that we aren’t full like weekdays but towards weekend we’ve noticed bookings have been full,” said Bautista, adding that most of the resort’s guests are locals and they come in groups like families.

So far, the resort is enjoying an average of 40 to 45 percent in occupancy per month since restrictions in the province were loosened.

“It is the hotel’s overall ambiance that attract families to either stay for a night or two. They truly can relax and spend quality time with their loved ones here,” Bautista said.

He noted that the three-hectare resort stands to benefit from the change in travel behavior, caused by the pandemic, to more “outdoor, smaller groups and health-conscious.”

Club Serena currently boasts of 17 spacious guests rooms that have a view of the beach, which according to Bautista isn’t enough given the uptick in bookings.

He said they sometimes turn down bookings because they don’t have more rooms to offer.

“It is for this reason that we are expanding our room capacity and amenities. We saw demand picking up and we want to position ourselves ahead so we can get a good slice of the local and foreign markets they all fully return,” he said.

From 17 rooms, the resort is adding 12 more rooms to accommodate more guests. The resort will also be building a bigger dining hall, function rooms and a dive shop.

Club Serena was fully booked during the entire Holy Week season amid the bad weather caused by typhoon Agaton, which was later on downgraded to a tropical depression and typhoon Basyang, which immediately exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

Moalboal isn’t a difficult destination to sell, according to Bautista, especially since the town is famous for its white sand beach plus it being known as one of Cebu’s best diving spots and water adventure destination, like the sardine run. He said the town is also popular among backpackers whose interests are into diving and island hopping.

Sustained recovery

Moreover, Bautista said the hospitality sector is excited for the strong return of foreign guests as this will speed up the recovery of the tourism sector which has been hit by the pandemic and typhoon Odette (Rai) in December.

In an initial report by the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7, tourism damages in Moalboal during typhoon Odette reached P9.1 million.

“We are still in the rebuilding, renovating and recovery phase. But we are just so glad of the progress that we are seeing, now that tourism activities are back,” Bautista said. “We are hoping for a sustained recovery.”

According to the DOT, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country reached 202,700 as of April 7, 2022.

Based on the data generated from the One Health Pass, foreign arrivals from the USA topped the list with 43, 744 visitors since the country reopened its borders to foreign leisure tourists.

This is followed by Canada with 9,618; United Kingdom with 9,315; South Korea with 8,440; and Australia with 8,212 tourists.

“The sustained influx of tourists in the Philippines is a good measure of the industry’s success in its preparations to welcome foreign tourists in the new normal. Our high vaccination rate among tourism workers and reportedly low cases around the country have helped restore the confidence of travelers to visit the Philippines during the summer season,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said in a statement.

Club Serena Resort is owned by AppleOne Properties, the developer and owner of the soon-to-open The Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort and Residences in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City. The firm also owns Diamond Suites and Residences in Cebu City.

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