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SUSTAINING TOURISM BOOM

‘Cebu should welcome more int’l hotel chains’

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 06:44 AM June 29, 2011

To sustain its tourism boom, Cebu needs more international hotel chains to come in, to look for new markets, and solve the restricted entry of Philippine aircraft in Europe and the United States.

Hans Hauri, president of the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu, yesterday said these three key issues need to be addressed especially with other provinces developing tourism as a main economic driver.

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Hauri, who is also the general manager of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, said the hotel’s occupancy rate was 64 percent from January to May, compared with the average occupancy rate across the hotel industry of 60 percent.

This is expected to decline in June and then increase toward the end of the year, he said.

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Hauri said the addition of 700 rooms last year to Cebu’s 10,000 rooms made the hotel landscape more competitive.

He said Cebu hotels feel the “bite” of the entry of new establishments such as Radisson Blu, Hotel Elizabeth and Crimson Resort and Spa Cebu in Mactan.

He said the travel market has become more unpredictable with people confused by the array of choices for accommodation.

“Should they go to the branded hotels or stay at econotels? This has become the dilemma of travelers now but that’s still a good problem,” he said.

Hauri said condotels have not yet started operations so don’t have an impact yet on hotel properties.

“However, I support the idea that the room supply comes first ahead of the market so Cebu now has to look at new markets to tap other than what we already enjoy now like the Japanese and Koreans. We can look at other growth markets like China, India, Europe and many more,” he said.

He said more international brands would also help promote Cebu abroad and that tourism stakholders should capitalize on these brands to make Cebu one of the best global destinations for tourists of all races.

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Budget airline carriers are also a factor.

Hauri said that budget flights helped push domestic tourism and could also bring in more international visitors on board national carriers especially with the Open Skies policy of the administration.

“With Executive Order 29 or the Open Skies Policy we can encourage more tourists to come to us at very affordable rates just like how these budget airlines encouraged domestic travelers to now travel to different destinations in the country.”

Hauri said to maximize this advantage, the government should address the existing restriction of Philippine carriers in Europe and the United States.

“The airline is our backbone for survival and economic prosperity. We need to solve the issue of safety first with the European and US Federal Aviation Authority declaring Philippine aircrafts under Category 2 which means they are freezing current flights, destinations and aircrafts. This affects our local airlines which cannot be able to expand. I think the government should solve this quickly,” he said.

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TAGS: Hotels & accommodation, Tourism
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