DOT chief: Not all 4 or 5-star rated hotels open for staycation

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT chief: Not all 4 or 5-star rated hotels open for staycation
This file photo shows a hotel room.
Pixabay / David Lee

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED Jan. 7, 2021; 1:51 a.m.)—Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday corrected the misperception that all four or five-star rated accommodation establishments can operate as staycation hotels.

“For such hotel to accept guests for leisure purposes, it has to apply for a Certificate of Authority to Operate as Staycation (CAOS) hotel. With the authority is the responsibility to strictly adhere to the minimum health and safety guidelines,” Puyat said.

“One has to pass the rigid inspection to ascertain that measures and systems are put in place and diligently practiced on a daily basis. It cannot, above all things, concurrently operate as a quarantine facility,” she added.

The DOT chief made the reiteration after City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati City was implicated in the death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera.

The agency on Tuesday issued a show cause order against the Makati hotel, asking it to explain why its accreditation should not be revoked.

CGGH, a four-star hotel, is listed as a quarantine hotel and should not operate as a staycation hotel or is not allowed to concurrently accept guests for leisure purposes. However, reports said that the death of Dacera occurred after a New Year’s Eve party in one of its hotel rooms.

Meanwhile, the DOT stressed that as of January 5, there are only 15 accredited AEs in Metro Manila that operate as staycation hotels.

These are: Grand Hyatt Hotel, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Okada Manila Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Nobu Hotel, Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila, EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Solaire Resort, Hyatt Regency City of Dreams, Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams, The Peninsula Manila, Aruga by Rockwell, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila and Hotel Okura Manila.

Other AEs not included in the roster are banned from accepting guests for leisure purposes or are not open at this time.

Puyat warned AEs without CAOS and tour operators and other entities “that continue to post invitations or make false, deceptive and misleading claims or statements for the purpose of soliciting business from clients”  that they may face violations.

“These non-staycation enterprises have been using social media to carry its ads,” the DOT said.

The DOT advised the public to check the status of the establishment before booking. The AEs operating as quarantine facilities are listed in the website of the Bureau of Quarantine.

On the other hand, AEs and new enterprises that are interested to apply for accreditation can register via the DOT’s online accreditation system can be accessed through Accreditation Portal (https://accreditation.tourism.gov.ph/).

Puyat said that with the threats posed by the new coronavirus variant, the DOT “will be on heightened alert and will have zero tolerance for even the slightest violation of health protocols.”

“Lives are on the line and our economic recovery depends on everybody being responsible. Let us all perform our duties well. Each has an important role to play in managing this crisis,” she said.




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 7, 2022 - 5:37pm

Find the latest travel and tourism news from around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. Main image by AFP/Romeo Gacad

August 7, 2022 - 5:37pm

Over 80,000 tourists are stranded in a resort city popularly known as "China's Hawaii" after a Covid flare-up led authorities to impose strict travel restrictions.

Tourism hotspot Sanya is a city of more than a million people on the southern island of Hainan, where 483 Covid cases were reported Sunday.

All flights out of the city were cancelled over the weekend, with authorities also halting train ticket sales. 

Tourists who want to leave must test negative in five PCR tests over seven days, health authorities said.

Hotels in the city have been asked to offer guests a 50 percent discount until the travel restrictions ease, an official said during a news briefing Saturday.

China is the only major economy still holding fast to a zero-Covid strategy with snap lockdowns and long quarantines, battering local tourism.

The country's borders have also remained largely closed since early 2020, halting international tourism. -- AFP

August 3, 2022 - 10:15am

Airbnb says revenue in the recently ended quarter topped $2 billion as people shook off pandemic worries and took part in a banner travel season.

The home rental platform logged a net income of $379 million in what it touted as the most profitable second quarter in its history.

As a sign of confidence in its future, the San Francisco-based company announces it will devote $2 billion to buying back shares. — AFP

July 11, 2022 - 3:46pm

Cebu Pacific, one of the Philippines’ leading airlines, has restored 88% of its pre-pandemic systemwide capacity following the continuous ramp-up of its domestic and international routes. The airline now flies an average of 340 flights a day, covering 34 domestic and 18 international destinations. This is equivalent to roughly 64,000 seats offered in a day. CEB has restored 100% of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity in April this year. The airline has already surpassed its December 2019 level for domestic capacity as it marks 109% restoration in July 2022.

“We are pleased to see more people confidently flying again, not just within the Philippines but even abroad. This positive development has not only allowed us to carry more passengers, but also boosted our cargo service,” said Xander Lao, Chief Commercial Officer at Cebu Pacific. “We remain committed to offering the lowest fares across our network and we are encouraged by past seat sale success rates so we will continue to stimulate travel through our promo fares."

To continue spurring travel CEB announces a special 7.7 sale from July 7 to 11, offering flights for as low as P188 one-way base fare for domestic routes on sale. Travel period is from September 1, 2022, until January 31, 2023. Apart from this, CEB also offers a simultaneous special international seat sale, on the same travel period above, to key destinations for as low as PHP 499 one-way base fare. This includes flights to South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, among others. CEB has achieved a seven-star safety rating from airlineratings.com for its COVID-19 compliance. It continues to implement a multi-layered approach to safety, while it operates with a 100% fully vaccinated crew, 95% of whom have been boosted – all to ensure every Juan flies safely and conveniently on Cebu Pacific. For more information, visit www.cebupacificair.com.

July 7, 2022 - 3:30pm

Hong Kong's new government on Thursday suspended a longstanding flight route ban that penalised airlines for bringing in coronavirus cases and severely impeded travel into the city, saying it was "not very effective".

The financial hub has become increasingly isolated under harsh pandemic restrictions as it mirrors a lighter version of China's strict zero-Covid policy, with the once busy Hong Kong airport now a relative aviation graveyard. 

On Thursday, new city leader John Lee's government said the "circuit breaker" rule was being suspended to "achieve the most in fighting the pandemic with the minimum cost on the society".

"At the current stage, continued implementation of the 'circuit breaker' mechanism is not very effective in preventing imported cases," the government said. 

"Large number of passengers will have their itineraries disrupted due to the mechanism, and as the supply of seats on planes and quarantine hotel rooms fall short, the social costs generated will be remarkably high." 

Travelling to Hong Kong will still pose a challenge as the city holds on to its mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine for all arrivals. 

Rooms at the designated hotels are booked up for months in advance. -- AFP

July 5, 2022 - 1:58pm

"Business is back", exclaims Abdullah Mekhlafi at the shop where he sells prayer mats in Islam's holiest city, which is preparing for the biggest influx of hajj pilgrims since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Two years of drastic restrictions on the number of pilgrims who could perform the hajj emptied shops and hotels across the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. But business owners are hoping for a quick recovery as hundreds of thousands of worshippers flock to the region this week.

"We had few customers (during the last two hajj seasons), but today business is back, thanks to God. It's the same as before, and even better," 30-year-old Mekhlafi told AFP.

One million people, including 850,000 from abroad, will be allowed at this year's hajj, one of five pillars of Islam which all able-bodied Muslims with the means are required to perform at least once in their lives.

In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals, which include circling the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, gathering at Mount Arafat and "stoning the devil" in Mina.

The following year, after the pandemic took hold, foreigners were barred and the total number of worshippers was capped at 10,000 to stop the hajj from turning into a global super-spreader.

That figure rose to 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents in 2021. -- AFP

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