More hotels slash rates for domestic market
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2020 - 12:00am

More hotels are set to offer discounted rates as the push for domestic tourism amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak gains traction, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) said.

“So far, based on the data we’ve received from the stakeholders participating in the domestic fun program, there are actual bookings already,” TCP president Jose Clemente III said.

“Inquiries are also coming in and later this week we’re coming up with an expanded list of properties that will be participating,” he added.

Under the domestic fun program, around 35 partner hotels had earlier announced discounted rates of up to 50 percent.

“We’ll be closer to 60 properties by the end of this week,” Clemente said. He added that there are also other properties that have expressed interest to participate in the program.

Among hotels in Luzon that earlier announced discounted rates are Ace Hotel & Suites, Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Diamond Hotel Manila Bay, Discovery Suites Manila, Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila, Quest Plus Conference Center Clark, Seda Nuvali, Seda Residences Makati, The Bayleaf Cavite, The Bayleaf Intramuros and The Linden Suites.

Meanwhile, Boracay hotels offering lower rates include Astoria Boracay Resort, Belmont Hotel Boracay, Citic Hotel Boracay, Coast Boracay, Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay, Discovery Shores Boracay, Fridays Boracay, Le Soleil De Boracay, Movenpick Resort and Spa Boracay, Savoy Hotel Boracay,The Muse Boracay and The Auhana Boracay.

In Palawan, Bacau Bay Resort Coron, Club Paradise Palawan, Seda Lio and Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa Palawan are joining the push for domestic tourism.Also, Cebu hotels Bluewater Maribago Resort, Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan, Marco Polo Cebu Hotel and Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu are slashing prices from their normal rates.

Other hotels offering discounts include Marco Polo Davao and Seda Abreeza in Davao, Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort in Bohol, Seda Atria Hotel in Iloilo and Seda Capitol Center in Bacolod.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and other stakeholders earlier announced the roll-out of more value-added packages, discounted accommodation and marked down prices on domestic flights, as part of its efforts to boost the domestic tourism sector as foreign arrivals are expected to be affected by the temporary travel ban from China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau due to COVID-19.

Based on data from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), foreign arrivals in February dropped 41.4 percent to 418,126 arrivals from 713,394 arrivals in the same month last year.

Hotels in tourist destinations have also posted declines in occupancy rates, such as Boracay and Bohol with a 40 percent drop and Cebu with a 27 percent decline.

In line with helping the tourism sector mitigate losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the DOT has allocated P6 billion which will be used for international and domestic promotions, infrastructure and regional tourism development.

Of that amount, P421 million will be used to develop a new campaign for the domestic market, while P467 million will be allocated for the creation of engaging content that will resonate with emerging markets unaffected by COVID-19.

Apart from the international and domestic promotions efforts, P725 million will be allocated for tactical programs, conducting and participation of international events and market development initiatives worldwide.

“For our direct support to the private sector, the DOT will waive the participation fees for international travel and trade fairs from Feb. 17 to June 30, 2020 amounting to P11.2 million,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

She added that P1.6 billion will be allocated for the night rating of secondary airports under the Institutionalized Leveraging of Infrastructure Program for Airport Development (iLiPAD) Program, a convergence program with the Department of Transportation.In addition, P2.280 billion will be allocated for resilient infrastructure developments and expansions to be identified and coordinated with local government units (LGUs).

“Of this amount, P500 million for the sewage treatment plant for Coron and P300 million for the sewage treatment plant for Puerto Gallera have been earmarked,” Puyat said.

She added that P400 million will be used to aid LGUs in developing their own tourism master plans.Moreover, P85 billion will be used for training for COVID-19 orientation, preparedness, response and protocols for industry stakeholders.

The domestic tourism market has posted significant growth in recent years, reaching 111 million domestic tourists in 2018, exceeding the 86-million domestic tourists target for 2022 under the National Tourism Development Plan.                          

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