No hotel bookings yet for January 2024, says HRRACI president

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 28,2023 - 06:22 PM

Uptown Cebu City skyline where some high-end hotels are found | CDN FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — It is too early for now to identify the percentage of bookings in hotels in the city for the Sinulog in January 2024. That is according to the president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu, Inc. (HRRACI). 

Alfred Reyes, HRRACI president, said in a phone interview on Tuesday, that as of November 28, there are still no hotel bookings for January 2024 in Metro Cebu. 

He said that earlier this year, the majority of the hotels in Cebu were doing well in terms of Sinulog, but as of November, they still could not tell on the status of the hotel bookings for this event because the people would usually book in the first week of January.

“Ang pattern man gud sa mga bookers karon kanang ting-book karon is within seven days. Mao nana’y pattern nato karon. Bisag magpa-book og eroplano, mao nanang seven days. Dili pariha sa una nga mo-book og 60 days,” Reyes said.

(The pattern now of the bookers is that their time to book now is within seven days. That is the pattern now. Even, those who would book airplanes, that is seven days. Not like before that they would book for 60 days.)

READ: Cebu City tourism office expects more guests in Sinulog 2024

Too early to tell

As of now, he said it would be too early to tell the percentage of the booking in hotels for Sinulog because the public would be staying in hotels for “holidays.”

“Not even 20-percent [of bookings]. Bisag mga dagko nga hotel wa na kaabot og 20-percent,” Reyes said. 

(Not even 20-percent [of bookings]. Even the big hotels they have not yet reached 20-percent.)

However, he said they “hoped to expect 80-percent in Sinulog.” 

READ: Sinulog sa Kabataan 2024: SFI encourages barangays in Cebu to join

80-percent booked

Last November 21, Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said during a forum that the hotels in the city were already at 80-percent booked for the Sinulog Festival, and the hotel in the South Road Properties (SRP) received most of the bookings but she did not specify the number.

But the HRRACI president reiterated that as of November 2023, it was still early to determine the percentage of bookings for Sinulog.

CDN Digital has already reached out to Pesquera regarding her statement on the percentage of bookings but she has yet to respond as of this writing.

As of 2023,  there are around 110 members under the HRRACI. 

READ: Sinulog 2024 to start at 9 a.m., says Cebu City councilor Pesquera


Based on their observation, around 60 to 70-percent of the bookers are locals, depending on the property’s category.

But when it comes to the hotels in Cebu City, around 65-percent of bookers are locals and 35-percent are international. 

Earlier this year, Reyes said that the bookings for hotels were good.

“Nindot atoang booking earlier this year because mao man to’y pagsurge pa sa revenge travel. As of now, we don’t really know how it goes [pa],” he added.

(Our bookings earlier this year are good because that was the surge of the revenge travel. As of now, we don’t really know how  it [still] goes.)

Revenge travel is a term used to describe the trip taken by the people that was not pushed through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Int’l tourist arrivals in PH surpass 3 million from Jan-July 2023

Anticipated activities for Sinulog

Moreover, Reyes said that people would normally anticipate the activities that they could attend or participate in Sinulog, like concerts, then that would be the time when they would book in hotels where they could stay.

“Pariha sa una, as early as December, naa na’y program nga mga nanggawas. Ang challenge man gud nato when it comes to Sinulog will always be on advertisement, what are the entertainments, and the activities that will happen during the Sinulog,” Reyes said.

(Like before, as early as December, there are already programs that have come out. Our challenge when it comes to Sinulog will always be on advertisement, what are the entertainments, and the activities that will happen during the Sinulog.)

With this, he suggested that it would be better that the activities for Sinulog 2024 would be released earlier so that the public could plan ahead of time.

“Karon man gud, lisod kaayo sa tanan. Like the last time, nagsige’g uwan ang Cebu, so ang booking ato, last minute tanan kay sige ma’g uwan ang Cebu ato,” he said.

(Now, it’s difficult for all. Like the last time, it was always raining in Cebu, so our booking at that time, it was last minute because it was always raining in Cebu at that time.)

READ: Sinulog 2024 still at SRP, SFI confirms


Aside from the wet weather, the other challenge they encountered earlier this year was the final venue of the Sinulog grand showdown. 

“No one knows until now until such time og sa seven to 14 days unsa’y mahitabo ana, depende on what will be the activities that we will be sending out to the market kung unsa man gyuy naa sa Cebu aside sa procession and grand parade,” he said.  

(No one knows until now until such time if it is seven to 14 days, what will happen then, it will depend on what will be the activities that we will be sending out to the market if what are here in Cebu aside from the procession and grand parade.)

He suggested that it would be nice to market the anticipated events for entertainment to the tourists to come to Cebu as their destination because there would be hotels in other countries like Vietnam and Thailand that would be cheaper compared to Cebu. 

“Even the surge of tourists now has totally changed after the pandemic,” he said. 

As of writing, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) is yet to announce the final program of events for the Sinulog next year.

READ: Cebu’s Sinulog among top 3 festivals in Asia

2 million arrivals in Cebu

Meanwhile, last November 14, Neil Odchigue, Cebu City’s chief tourism operations officer, said in a news forum, that the Cebu City Tourism Office would be expected to welcome more guests for the celebration next year.

Odchigue said that as of September 2023, they had already recorded over 2 million guests both local and foreign had arrived here.

He said that it was a 28-percent growth from last year’s data with an estimated 1.9 million guests.

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TAGS: bookings, hotels, HRRACI

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