Cebu hotels, resorts still in “survival mode”

Published March 30, 2021, 10:08 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY—Hotels and resorts in Cebu are still in dire financial straits and another round of lockdown will be disastrous, the president of the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said.

(Photo from Facebook)

Carlo Suarez said Cebu’s hotel industry has started picking up from the ill-effects of the pandemic but are expected to take another hit due to the recent developments in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Our hotels and resorts in Cebu are still in the survival mode. We were slowly picking up but with the recent development in Manila and in Cebu, it’s really hard for us to really survive the business,” said Suarez.

Suarez said the enhanced community quarantine currently imposed in the NCR will be greatly felt by the hotel industry in Cebu.

“We were slowly getting the “businessman market.” These are the people from Manila who come to Cebu to do business then fly back. That’s why the lockdown in Metro Manila has a big impact on our industry,” said Suarez.

Suarez said what is happening in NCR should not happen in Cebu for the industry to get back on its feet.

“We cannot handle another round of lockdown,” Suarez said.

For now, some hotels are able to survive after they were utilized as isolation or quarantine facilities.

“The market now of the hotels in Cebu is still the quarantine market,” said Suarez, adding that hotels are also banking on local tourists to keep their operations going.

“We have the leisure market on weekends but on weekdays, we are still averaging 5 to 10 percent of the occupancy. On weekends, we go around 40 to 50 percent,” said Suarez.

“Businesswise, this 40 to 50 percent is in the resorts but for city hotels, it’s not really doing well,” added Suarez.

HRRAC has at least 60 member hotels. Overall, HRRAC has 120 members, including schools and suppliers.

There were hotels in Cebu that were forced to cease operations last year due to the pandemic.

“Five percent of HRRAC’s total membership remained closed,” Suarez said.

As hotels continue to find ways to survive, the recently launched tourism program by the Cebu provincial government in which various tour packages are being offered is a welcome development, Suarez said.

HRRAC is also hoping for the immediate start of public rollout of the vaccination program so hotels can finally recover.

“We are really looking forward to the vaccination. For us in the tourism industry, we want the business to survive. We don’t want to close. We want to continue to provide employment,” said Suarez.