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Colliers: Hotel occupancy slightly up in H1, bookings likely to remain low for the rest of 2021

Hotel occupancy in the Philippines posted a slight uptick in the first semester and bookings are likely to remain low for the rest of the year, according to investment management firm Colliers.

Data released by Colliers showed that hotel occupancy grew by only 24% in the first half of 2021 versus 20% in the same period last year due to low foreign arrivals.

“This is despite the DOT (Department of Tourism) allowing thirteen 4- and 5-star hotels in Metro Manila for leisure stays,” it said in an emailed statement.

“In our opinion, hotel occupancies are still likely to remain below 30% by the end of 2021 as we do not see an uptick in international tourists for the remainder of the year,” it added.

Colliers noted, however, that domestic travel will drive growth for the leisure sector in the near term, with the government’s efforts to raise tourism’s contribution to the economy.

A poll conducted by the firm shows that Palawan remains the top local destination that travelers would like to visit once travel restrictions are lifted, scoring 43%.

Asked which local destination respondents would be likely to visit once all restrictions are eased, 36% answered Boracay, followed by Cebu with 14%, Davao with 3%, Bacolod with 2%, and Iloilo with 2%.

“Colliers believes that hotel operators should continue tweaking their marketing strategies to maximize the sector’s recovery,” the firm said.

Among the upgrades Colliers suggested are trainings and refresher programs to maintain high quality, provide flexibility in bookings, prioritize staff vaccinations, adopt a multiple-use model, and take advantage of government incentives.

“Colliers sees a slow recovery for the leisure sector especially with domestic and international travel restrictions still in place and new COVID variants dampening sentiment and travel,” it said.

Most of the Philippines has been under a form of community quarantine since March 2020, with Metro Manila under the modified enhanced community quarantine until September 15.

This will be followed by the Alert Level 4 in line with the implementation of granular lockdowns starting Thursday, September 16. —KBK, GMA News