THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has allowed hotels to resume operations up to 100 percent capacity, but operators said travel documentary requirements must first be relaxed to bring back the guests.
In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella said Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, that the City still has to evaluate the risk of allowing hotels to operate at full capacity.
He said the City has to determine whether allowing the hotels to accept more guests would not compromise the health of the tourists and employees.
Under its Resolution 79, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases authorized the DOT to determine which hotels can operate at full capacity in areas placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in a statement on Wednesday, said it will be up to the hotel management to implement the 100 percent operational capacity with strict compliance to safety protocols.
Puyat said DOT will soon release the amended guidelines.
The Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu Inc. (HRRAC), however, urged local government units (LGU) to first loosen documentary requirements for travelers.
Some border restrictions hamper the movement of potential tourists, and there is still minimal to no market for some hotels, the group said.
Alfred Reyes, HRRAC vice president, said relaxing the travel requirements would build consumer confidence.
“City hotels are still on survival mode. If we want to bring back tourism, we should start with the domestic market,” he said.
Guests from business process outsourcing companies have pulled out following the relaxation of outbound travel restrictions, he noted. There are also fewer arrivals among overseas Filipino workers.
Reyes said 95 percent of hotels and resorts in Lapu-Lapu City and 90 percent of those in the province have been operating at 50 percent capacity under MGCQ.
But with an average of only 25 occupied rooms per day, Reyes said a hotel would not survive if it ramps up operations to 100 percent capacity.
“How many employees do you want to come back to work? How can you bring people back to work if you only have 25 rooms occupied?” Reyes said.
Reyes said there is still so much work to do in terms of building consumer confidence.
“It should be first lobbied with the national government for the LGUs to loosen up the controls,” he said.
IATF Resolution 79 also allows non-authorized persons outside residences (non-Apor) to travel between areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ.
Non-Apor are also allowed to move across areas with the same quarantine classification, either GCQ or MGCQ.
The same resolution amended the age range of those allowed outside their homes to 15 to 65.
“These new policies, approved by the IATF, support the Department’s programs aimed at rebuilding the tourism industry to bring back lost jobs and livelihoods and stir local economies,” Puyat said in her statement.
“The flexible travel movements, however, do not mean that we will be relaxing our health standards. We will continue to work with the LGUs in enforcing safety protocols and enhanced hygiene measures in all sectors of the tourism industry,” she added.
Cebu is home to more than 10,000 hotels, based on the data of the DOT.
The tourism industry in Central Visayas, which generated P97 billion in revenues in 2019, lost an estimated P87 billion in foregone revenues from January to June 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic crippled the travel industry and shut down hotels, resorts and tourist destinations. (JOB with JJL)