Some hotels, resorts in Cebu note cancellations in bookings, reservations amid coronavirus threat

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | January 30,2020 - 12:49 PM

Cebu City skyline. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Amid the threat of entry and spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines, several establishments in Cebu catering to tourists, especially Chinese nationals, have started to observe cancellations in bookings and reservations.

Carlo Suarez, president of the Hotels, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said their group has  already received reports from their members of decrease in bookings and reservations since the start of January.

“We don’t have the absolute figures right now but yes, we already received information and reports from our members (about booking cancellations),” Suarez told Cebu Daily News Digital in a phone interview on Thursday, January 30.

As part of the tourism industry, which is considered by experts as the ‘bread and butter’ of the province, Suarez said the threat of possible entry and spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, simplified as 2019-nCoV, is a big challenge for tourism players like them.

HRRAC consists of around 100 members.

He added that Chinese tourists, collectively, formed their largest market.

“This is a very big impact… a big challenge for the tourism industry. For our part, Chinese tourists are our number one market,” he added.

Despite these developments, the HRRAC president added that they are optimistic that with the government’s measures being planned and implemented, the country will be able to keep the 2019-nCoV at bay.

“This is a very big challenge. However, with the government’s help especially in tightening screening measures in all airports and seaports, we hope the goal for country – as well as Cebu – to be (2019 novel) coronavirus-free – will be consistent throughout,” he said.

Aside from purchasing thermal guns to scan every persons entering hotels, resorts and other establishments, HRRAC has also advised its members to prepare an isolation room as part of their precautionary measures amid the threat of 2019-nCoV.

Suarez said several members of their group are now coming up with an isolation or holding room in case a visitor is observed to have high body temperature, or a general feeling of being unwell.

“We require all our members also to have small isolation rooms, or holding rooms in case there are guests having high fever. Once they are placed inside the isolation or holding rooms, we will be calling officials from Department of Health (DOH) for further assistance and treatment,” Suarez added.

Suarez announced earlier on Wednesday, January 29, that their group has agreed for all its members to purchase thermal guns to aid frontline staff of hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Cebu in detecting guests showing flu-like symptoms.

“We require our members to have or purchase these thermal guns. These can be bought in pharmacies or shops selling medical equipment. They would serve as precautionary measures to protect the possibly entry of the 2019 novel coronavirus. We also require them to screen all guests prior entering their establishment, regardless of nationalities,” he added./elb

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TAGS: 2019 - novel coronavirus, 2019-nCov, and Restaurant Association of Cebu, Carlo Suarez, coronavirus, drop in hotel occupancy, hotels, Hotels Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu, HRRAC, resort

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