Secure facilities needed to restart hotel industry

Secure facilities needed to restart hotel industry

MANILA, Philippines — Hotels are urged to create a secure and COVID- proof accommodation facilities to be able to tap the domestic tourism market in line with restarting the industry, according to a property consultancy firm.

“With foreign visitor arrivals remaining out of the picture, restarting the hotel sector through domestic tourism could start from creating secure and COVID-proof accommodation facilities,” Cushman and Wakefield Philippines said in a property market news report.

“Restoring travel appetite among domestic travelers could take some time even if a number of accommodation establishments have been allowed to restart operations,” it said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) reported earlier this month that over 7,000 accommodation establishments have been given the green light to operate under varying quarantine conditions.

This was through the issuance of Certificates of Authority to operate (CAO) and provisional CAOs to 7,200 hotels, resorts and other accommodation establishments.

The DOT stressed earlier that accommodation establishments are required to secure a CAO or a provisional CAO before commencing operations in various quarantine zones. This is to ensure that health and safety protocols are in place.

“Not only will a CAO a provisional CAO from DOT indicate the allowable operation of accommodation establishments, it likewise adds to guests’ confidence, knowing that these establishments have been inspected and are compliant with our protocols that follow globally-recognized health and safety standards, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said earlier.

“We are happy to see the numbers go up as more tourism destinations reopen for domestic travelers,”she said.

Cushman and Wakefield earlier said cautious customers would continue to dampen the travel industry for both international and domestic tourism.

“Domestic travel is deterred by the additional cost of having to secure mandatory medical/health certificates required for intraregional movement and other association costs that could arise from domestic travel requirements issued by national and local governments,”  the property consultancy said.

“Nonetheless, the return to full operations of hotel establishments signals the sectos readiness once travel appetite resumes,”it said.

In October, the DOT announced that hotels in general community quarantine areas (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas are allowed to operate at full capacity as the DOT was given the authority by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), to determine the allowable operational capacity, up to 100 percent, for hotels, including staycation hotels, in areas classified under GCQ and MGCQ.

Puyat, however, stressed that the decision to open at 100 percent operational capacity would be subject to the hotel management’s decision and compliance with the safety guidelines.

The DOT stressed that this was made through the IATF-EID’s approval of Resolution No. 79 last October 15.

The said resolution replaces the provision that accommodation establishments in areas under GCQ may only operate with a skeleton work force, and now provides that such operations may be governed by the issuances of relevant national agencies such as the DOT.

Moreover, Puyat said the DOT shall continue its coordination with national government agencies under the IATF, local government units (LGUs), and stakeholders to safely reopen more destinations for domestic tourism, and steer the industry to recovery.

“The DOT’s focus is to jumpstart domestic tourism first. We will continue our thorough inspection of the health and safety protocols in tourism establishments, so when non-essential travel among Filipinos and even inbound travel for leisure among foreign visitors are allowed, these will be ready,” Puyat said.

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