Hotels, resorts start to feel pinch-A A +A
Friday, May 18, 2012
TOURISM Regional Director Rowena Montecillo said the industry has taken a “wait-and-see” stance but also hopes for an immediate resolution of the standoff over the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.
“Although we are still gathering data, hotel players here and in Bohol have reported cancellations of Chinese bookings for May,” said Montecillo.
She said Chinese tourists, who are among the top five travel markets for the Philippines, usually arrive in charter flights. They visit Cebu for leisure activities and eventually visit other neighboring islands such as Boracay and Bohol.
In a text message yesterday, Maribago Bluewater Resort and Spa general manager Rhyz Buac reported that as of the moment, 54 room nights were already cancelled or 36 Chinese guests have cancelled their trip to Cebu for May.
He added that about 175 Chinese guests have also cancelled their bookings in Panglao’s Bluewater Resort and Spa or roughly 30 percent.
Although the Chinese are not the resort’s major market, Buac admitted these developments affect hotel sales and the tourism industry in general. “It depends on how our government will handle the issue,” he said.
The resort’s top markets are Japan and Korea, followed by Europe and Hong Kong.
In a text message sent last Monday, Agnes Pacis, director of sales and marketing of Shangri-La Mactan Resorts and Spa, said they have received inquiries from clients regarding the issue as well as requests for postponement of bookings.
However, she said “China is only one of our many feeder markets and we remain confident that the effects, if any, will be temporary and that our overall business will not be adversely affected.”
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino (WCCHC) reported cancellations of bookings from Chinese guests.
According to WCCHC general manager Alfred Portenschlager, eight to 15 rooms were cancelled shortly after the travel advisory from China.
Portenschlager noted China has consistently been one of their top five markets over the past years. The travel advisory, he said, will not only affect Cebu but also other tourist destinations like Bohol and Boracay, which the Chinese usually visit in big groups.
“But I believe this (issue) is only temporary. Looking at the mid-term, we are still encouraged. Opportunity still arises with the strong domestic market and other foreign and new markets,” he said referrign to the DoT’s strong campaign “more fun in the Philippines.”
The Cebu City Marriott Hotel, meanwhile, said they are not much affected by the Chinese travel advisory, as Chinese are not their major market.
According to Montecillo, the Chinese market is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in Central Visayas.
In 2011, DOT 7 recorded some 55,000 arrivals from mainland China alone and 20,000 Chinese arrivals in the first two months this year.
She also noted that the tourism department has exceeded its target in the first quarter this year, an indicator that the Philippine tourism is doing well, and far from having huge problems in terms of security.
With the rising tension between China and the Philippines, former Department of Tourism 7 director Dawnie Roa finds it imperative for the government to appoint an ambassador to China.
“This effect on tourism is only temporary. Both countries need to arrive at a common denominator,” she said.
China warned its residents last week against traveling to the Philippines. The DOT on Monday reported the loss of around 1,500 to 2,000 passengers for May due to the travel advisory.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 18, 2012.