Tourist surge in 2017 seen
DOT chief urges stakeholders to build more hotels and resorts
There is a need to build more hotels and resorts in the country especially since more tourists are expected to visit the Philippines in 2017.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo expressed this need in the tourism industry, citing the country’s exposure to the world like in the Miss Universe pageant next year, which the country will host, as among the reasons for the expected rise of foreign visitors in the country.
Teo also cited the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China last October as another factor to the expected surge of tourists next year.
“There will be more tourists (next year) especially because hosting the Miss Universe has placed us on the world map. After (the President’s) China trip, Chinese arrivals have also increased,” she told Cebu Daily News at the sidelines of the inauguration of Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) direct flight from Cebu to Caticlan on Friday.
Teo is also confident that the Department of Tourism (DOT) will hit or even surpass its target of 6 million tourist arrivals this year, with already 4.7 million logged visitors as of September.
The Philippines welcomed 5.4 million tourists in 2015, based on data gathered from international airports across the country.
Following Duterte’s visit to China, where he secured multi-billion-dollar trade deals with government and private sector, Teo said she also expects up to 3 million Chinese tourists to visit the country in 2017.
However, she said the challenge now is that the Philippines may not be “ready” to accommodate these guests.
She said that inter-regional flights, such as that offered by national flag-carrier PAL, will also encourage increased domestic tourism.
“This will increase domestic tourism because of the connectivity from another place to Cebu or Cebu to, let’s say, Davao, especially during long weekends. The tourists will really go on vacation,” said Teo.
PAL’S new flights
Last Friday, PAL inaugurated its daily Cebu-Caticlan and Cebu-Clark (via Caticlan) flights, bringing the total of domestic destinations it flies to and from Cebu to 10.
The airline also mounted its first direct flight to Singapore, its sixth international destination served from Cebu.
Teo said the DOT is constantly encouraging local airlines to open more direct inter-regional and international flights to spur tourism in the country as well as decongest the airport in Manila.
“We will be expecting more tourists to come, but I believe we are not that ready. We should have more hotels,” she added, although she did not have data on the projected supply and demand of hotel rooms for next year at the time of the interview.
The tourism official said they are encouraging developers to invest in more hotels and resorts as well as encourage homeowners to offer “homestay” accommodations to complement the existing stock of hotel rooms in the country.
The DOT’s homestay program are starting to be implemented at emerging tourist destinations such as Siargao and Davao, but it will spread or be implemented across the different regions as well, she said.
She also said that the DOT would also provide training and accreditation to those interested in the program.
Edilberto Mendoza, president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO), however, said that Teo’s statement (on needing more hotels and resorts) may only apply to the rest of the country.
Mendoza said that Cebu and Manila can very well accommodate tourists since more hotels are being built in these places.
Cenelyn Manguilimotan, past president of the Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said Cebu has enough rooms.
“Cebu is always ready to accommodate,” said Manguilimotan as she also looks forward to the expected surge in tourism arrivals in Cebu next year.
Metro Cebu market
Pinnacle, a real estate consulting services firm, estimates that the Metro Cebu market presently has a total of approximately 9,500 hotel rooms with star classification.
This total stock grew from 7,800 rooms last year, or an increase of 22 percent, according to a recently released market report.
Amid this development, average occupancy increased to 90 percent this year, as compared to 85 percent last year.
In terms of room rates, deluxe hotels have an average room rate of P3,800 per night. There was an increase of 9 percent, from P3,500 per night, even when new hotel rooms were opened to the public.
“The healthy occupancy and room-rate level bode well for the Cebu hotel market,” the report read.
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