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Quakes, Covid-19, ASF pull down hotels’ incomes

The incomes of the hospitality industry have been impacted by disasters and the fear brought about by the Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) and the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, an industry official said.

Benjamen Banzon Jr., manager of the Royal Mandaya Hotel, said that in the case of the hotel, the income has gone down to about 50% as of last months as it has been hounded by booking cancellations after earthquakes shook some areas in Mindanao last year and the fear brought about by COVID-19 and ASF.

Banzon said the travel bans the government has imposed on other countries, particularly China, have greatly affected the hospitality industry.

“We have experienced a very tremendous effect due to the series of (unfortunate events),” he said, adding that the impact of these events on the bottomlines would be huge.

Since the series of earthquakes, the hotel has lost about P10 million in terms of unrealized revenues due to cancellation of bookings. “Supposedly we’d be enjoying a high occupancy—especially in December. Unfortunately, wala gyud siya na-materialize,” he said.

The COVID-19 has also impacted the hotel business especially next month, considered a peak month for the business, as the city government has announced the cancellation of key events during the celebration of Araw ng Davao.

Banzon said about 38% of the booked reservations have been canceled as the hotel is bracing for more cancellations.

He also said since January, the number of occupancies have dropped to 49% from 78%. Since 2016, their normal occupancy rate was 70-90%.

Among those that were canceled, he said, was that of the Taiwanese company whose executives were supposed to visit the city. Last week, the Philippine government raised a travel ban on Taiwan, but eventually lifted it.

Last Thursday, hotel managers in the city held a meeting on how to mitigate the impact of these incidents and Banzon said they will discuss with the Department of Tourism to promote local tourism and not depend on international tourists for them to be able to get back on their feet.

He added that pieces of information must also be conveyed that will reassure travelers that it is safe to visit the city.

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