AMID the expected traffic congestion as a result of the bridge repair, resort facilities in Mactan remain optimistic the rehabilitation won’t paralyze island-based tourism operations.
Big players in the resort industry yesterday said they already prepared necessary measures to continue to entice more tourists, particularly local guests, to visit their facilities.
“Right now we haven’t seen how big the impact of the bridge repair will be to our business. We are still on the planning stage and we are considering a lot of options on where we can effectively intervene,” said Rene Egle, general manager of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.
He said that one of the options they are looking into is the offering of boat shuttles to ferry their guests to Cebu City from the hotel and vice versa. However, they are yet to determine which port the semi-yacht can possibly dock.
“We are still in talks about our contingency plans, as we still have to assess how bad the traffic congestion will be,” said Egle.
He, however, emphasized that the five-star resort facility will introduce more activities and special promos to entice more guests to visit their property. “We will introduce attractive packages and activities for the market for them to make an effort to come despite the circumstance,” Egle said.
Shangri-La’s Mactan has already issued a warning to their guests of the increased traffic congestion and delayed arrival to Cebu City brought about by the major bridge repair.
Last Jan. 13, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 issued an advisory informing the general public that the rehabilitation of the first Mandaue-Mactan bridge will take place right after Cebu’s hosting of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.
DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo in the advisory emphasized there will be no closure of the bridge so as not to cause heavy traffic and confusion to the travelers.
“DOT 7 will continue to coordinate with the Department of Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 for updates and shall continue to issue advisories on the matter,” said Montecillo.
“Since traffic is expected to be really bad, we highly suggest to our guests to stay in-house,” said Mia Sy, public relations and marketing and communications manager of Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, in a text message.
As for their meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) clients, Sy said the hotel’s banquet team has came up with a special live-in package for Cebu City clients to stay longer and have enough time to enjoy the facilities instead of returning to the city immediately after their event.
A weekend visit is highly suggested, so going back Saturday or Sunday to the city won’t be as bad compared to weekdays, Sy added.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa’s general manager Efren Belarmino expressed optimism that Mactan-based accommodation facilities will be less affected by the bridge repair because mostly of resorts’ guest profile are leisure travelers who normally stay longer within the resort.
He, however, expects a slight impact of the infrastructure repair among local guests, especially those living in Cebu City. But he noted that if local guests are interested to come, traffic would not necessarily stop them from visiting Mactan.
“The repair of the old bridge is long overdue, so it is one of the those hindrances that we have to work around. Hotels need to be sensitive about the situation and advice their guests upon check-in of the possible long ride to the airport and suggest them to leave earlier than originally anticipated,” said Julie Najar, president of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu in a statement.
Najar also suggested that vehicles transporting guests must be equipped with bottled water, snack items, newspaper and Wi-Fi connections to make the long ride as comfortable as possible.
Aside from making preparations to make guests’ experience less stressful, resort operators have likewise put in place measures to make going to work easier for their employees.
“Our employees have been advised to leave for work earlier that usual. Some are considering temporarily relocating in Mactan but this is yet to be seen, as they want to wait and have a feel of the situation before deciding,” said Sy.
Plantation Bay, on the other hand, will be offering a dormitory facility as an option for their Cebu-based workers.
According to the project study, the repair of the Mandaue-Mactan bridge may take 320 days or about 10 months.