Hotel rooms to be limited to double occupancy in Philippines' new normal: DOT

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2020 09:14 PM | Updated as of May 20 2020 09:15 PM

Hotel rooms to be limited to double occupancy in Philippines' new normal: DOT 1
FILE PHOTO: People flock to the Travel Tour Expo at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, City on February 7, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Hotels in the Philippines can only accommodate up to 2 persons per room once the government allows the hospitality industry to resume operations under a new normal due to the coronavirus crisis, Tourism officials said Wednesday.

The limit on hotels will be included in the Department of Tourism's (DOT) omnibus revised tourism standards that will be rolled out "very soon," Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato, Jr. told senators during a hybrid hearing.

Under the new set of rules, hotels in general community quarantine areas will also only be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, he said.

"The basic common themes we expect to see [in the omnibus revised tourism standards] are anchored on social distancing, deep sanitation, protection gear and investment of tourism stakeholders in health plans for both employees and guests," he said.

"We expect to roll out that set of standards within the next couple of weeks so we can give time to stakeholders to prepare and comply," he added.

The DOT is also planning to extend low-interest loans to tourism stakeholders as community quarantines due to the coronavirus have forced several businesses to temporarily stop operations, he said.

"Karamihan po sa mga nasa turismo ay nasa micro and small at kailangan po nila ng tulong," Boncato said.

"DOT will invest heavily to help stakeholders and build confidence among travelers within the country first as other countries are doing as well," he said.

The tourism industry accounts for 12.7 percent of the Philippines' gross domestic product, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.

About 5.4 million jobs are at stake as the government expects a decrease of 1.3 million in tourist arrivals this year, she said.

Tourism receipts from January to April 2020 are pegged at P79.8 billion, 55 percent lower compared to the same period last year, she said.

"There have been no visiting tourists, therefore no revenue for industry this month," she said.

The DOT has also placed a moratorium on accreditation fees and waived the participation fees in international exhibitions, Puyat said.

The DOT is expected to orient stakeholders on the industry's new normal in a few weeks, she said.