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International hotel consultant nixes new star rating

MANILA, Philippines - The new star rating system for hotels and resorts to be implemented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) is impractical and unnecessary, a global hospitality consulting firm said.

In an interview, Asia-based hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks said the sentiments of hotel and resort owners against the star rating system are acceptable.

“It’s an antiquated system. It’s a system that is defunct,” C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett told The STAR.

Barnett said assets of individual resorts and hotels are being downgraded and should just let the market decide.

The DOT has been firm in its position the star rating system will help the Philippines and the tourism sector move forward. It is in line with the efforts of the department to raise the bar for Philippine hotels and resorts and align them with global standards.

“This is a system by which we are able to come up with a standard that will make us competitive. A set of standards that the international community will understand,” DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

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The announcement of the new star rating system to more than 700 accredited tourism accommodation providers will push through on the third week of November.

The formal classification comprises of five levels that range from one to five stars, based on a point system focusing on inventory, availability, condition and quality of facilities. The previously used “deluxe,” “first-class,” “standard,” and “economy” classification will soon be dropped.

On the other hand, Barnett does not believe the Samal Island kidnapping case last month is unlikely to affect the local tourism sector. The DOT has earlier expressed confidence there would be no significant changes or decline in tourist arrivals for the remaining months of the year.

“I don’t think you can expect to sustain with such disruptive events. But these are just probably short-term damage,” he added.

Furthermore, Barnett emphasized the target five million tourist arrivals for 2015 is feasible considering the recent economic slowdown in China, but transportation is still an issue.

Latest data from DOT showed inbound visitors for the January to August period totaled 3.6 million, with total revenue amounting to P152.19 billion.

“It seems doable. It is beneficial because the Philippines is becoming a valued destination, but then again, infrastructure here continues to be the problem,” he said.

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