Hoteliers laud DOT action: Multiple-use approval to lift hotel occupancy

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The hospitality sector in Cebu expects improved occupancy rate following the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) approval for multiple-use.

This means that those classified as quarantine hotels or resorts can now accept leisure or staycation guests.  

Alfred Reyes, president of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said that with this immediate response facilitated by DOT secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, hoteliers are looking at recovery albeit very slowly.

Of the 17 hotels and resorts that applied for multiple-use, 11 properties offer a combined room accommodation of 1,700 rooms.

Seven more properties with close to a thousand rooms are still waiting for approval for multiple-use permit.

“We are happy that Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat is very hands-on in fast-tracking this request, particularly in helping us get the nod of the Department of Health (DOH),” said Reyes.

From the approval of OWWA in increasing room rates, Puyat’s fast action in allowing more hotels to accept both quarantine and staycation guests is another positive development for the struggling sector.

Moreover, the multiple-use approval is also timely as the sector awaits the resumption of Cebu-bound international flights by June 13 and the possible expansion in the number of airline passengers.

HRRAC has been lobbying for with the government’s Covid-19 task force to increase the cap of number of passengers, which is now pegged at 300 arrivals per day.

According to Reyes, HRRAC targets to increase the number of quarantine rooms to 5,000 from the current 3,600 rooms.

Multiple-use properties have separate entrance and exit points for quarantine and non-quarantine guests.

“These properties are inspected by the DOT and DOH to make sure quarantined persons must not be able to access public areas and must stay inside their rooms until they finish their quarantine period,” he said.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, which resulted to series of lockdowns, the hospitality sector had been suffering from low single-digit occupancy rate, some had to declared temporary closure.

With the recent positive developments, Reyes said hotel occupancy rate as well as revenue points of hotels are expected to climb up albeit slowly. 

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