HELP NEEDED

Hotel execs seek DOT’s help amid travel bans due to Covid, ASF

A group of hotel managers in Davao City is seeking the help of the Department of Tourism (DoT) and the City Tourism Office in promoting local tourism to help them cope with the impact of travel ban due to coronavirus disease (COVID 19) and the effect of African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in the city. 

Benjamen Banzon, general manager of The Royal Mandaya Hotel (TRMH), told media in Kapihan sa PIA at TRMH the group had their first meeting on Thursday (February 13) together with managers of various hotels in Davao City.

Banzon said their meeting focused on the nature of assistance that they will be needing from the national and the local governments, how are they going to respond and prepare themselves amid the outbreaks. 

“Are we going to allow our staff to wear masks, etc. What support can we get from the national and local tourism industry in promoting the local tourism kay mao gyud amo nakita nga temporarily will sustain the hotel industry in the city,” he said.   

During the meeting, Banzon said his peers expressed that their respective establishments are greatly affected by ASF and COVID 19 in terms of occupancy rate due to cancellations of group bookings and events. 

“Definitely it will directly affect the hospitality industry, the travel ban, supposedly we have a big group of CEOs and presidents of big corporations from Taiwan coming in this Sunday, unfortunately due to the travel ban, they gave us an advice na dili sila madayon. This has direct effect on us. We are trying our best though we are optimistic na passing lang ni siya in due time and we support the decision of the Mayor Sara Duterte,” Banzon said. 

He cited that TRMH is experiencing tremendous effect which started during the series of earthquakes last year then the present COVID 19 and ASF.

According to him in November last year, they experienced a total of P10 million worth of cancellations after the earthquakes.   

“Sunod sunod na siya and based on the previous years, 50 percent jud ang nawala sa amoa. March is approaching and supposedly the hotel industry should be enjoying the Araw ng Davao but with this scenario gi-prepare namo among sarili on how are we going to cope- up in this situation,” he said. 

Another cancellation is the holding of JS Prom as TRMH is known as venue for group, government and school events. 

“As of today we have 38 percent cancellations already and I am still expecting it to increase as other reservations are still in a wait and see mode. I believe that first week of March naa na sila decisions with regards to their bookings,” Banzon said.  

Banzon mentioned that in 2016 TRMH recorded an average of 70 percent to 90 percent occupancy rate.  

“Since we had these series of earthquakes nag-drop jud siya and until now wala pa ta naka-recover then here comes COVID 19 threat and ASF outbreak,” he said.