One for the books

HOTEL operators are bracing for the influx of tourists as the Sinulog weekend approaches, and some of the big city hotels have already reported they are fully booked for Jan. 16-18.

“Occupancy has started to build up and we will be full during the Sinulog weekend from Friday to Sunday,” said Ann Olalo, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu director of sales and marketing.

Occupancy in Cebu City Marriott Hotel is also high for Sinulog period, according to Charlene Go, the hotel’s media communications manager.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino is likewise full. Rommelle Don Mendoza, the hotel’s marketing and communications manager, said most of their guests are locals from Manila and neighboring provinces.

As of Jan. 7, occupancy at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was at 90 percent, said Kyra Cabaero, the hotel’s communications manager.

Best Western Plus Lex Cebu general manager Bernard Tanchan, on the other hand, said their hotel is also fully booked for the Sinulog weekend. Most of their guests they expect are locals.

Tanchan said they will be providing guests with Sinulog kits and the hotel will sell food outside its premises, to serve the thick crowds.

Other players have also thought of ideas to keep up with the festive mood.

“Some of the things that we’ve added for our guests is that we have an altar in the lobby to highlight Sinulog and Señor Sto. Niño. Guests can have their photo taken as well as join the Sinulog dancers that will be performing on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 17 &18) in the lobby,” said the Marriott’s Go.

Food, music

Radisson Blu will offer the “Filipino Fiesta at Feria,” a food festival showcasing popular Filipino dishes, from Jan. 14-18.

Waterfront Cebu, meanwhile, will have a series of concert events and other activities.

“We have the coronation of Miss Cebu on the 14th, the Toni Gonzaga concert on the 16th, and the Voice of the Kids Concert on the 17th. We also have a Treff Sinulog party on the 16th,” said Mendoza.

Marco Polo is offering the Sinulog package for those checking in on Jan. 17-18, with inclusions like two seats at the Marco Polo Plaza bleacher along the parade route area and transfer to and from the hotel at scheduled times; packed lunch; face painting at the lobby; and parade amenities like water, whistles and fans.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7, January is usually the peak season for the first quarter, when accommodation facilities located in the city log high occupancy as foreign and local tourists, especially balikbayans, arrive to join the revelry.

The DOT 7 reported less than a month ago that, based on tourist arrivals from January to September 2014, Central Visayas was on track to hit its target of 3.6 million tourist arrivals in the region for the whole year. It reported 2,830,768 tourist arrivals for that period, up by 5.79 percent compared to 2,675,957 arrivals in the same months in 2013.

Of those numbers, more than two million tourists visited Cebu, while around 334,000 visited Bohol Province.
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