Department of Tourism (DOT) officials announced Wednesday hotel rooms in the Philippines could only accommodate two persons per room once the hospitality industry begins its operations under the new normal amid COVID-19 crisis.
Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato, Jr. told senators during a hybrid hearing the double occupancy only rule will be part of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) omnibus revised tourism standards that will be released “very soon.”
Boncato said under the new normal rules, hotels in areas under general community quarantine areas will be allowed to operate but at 50 percent capacity only.
“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 official also said DOT might also give low-interest loans to tourism stakeholders to aid their recovery.
“Karamihan po sa mga nasa turismo ay nasa micro and small at kailangan po nila ng tulong,” Boncato said.
(Most of those in tourism are in micro and small, and they need help.)
“DOT will invest heavily to help stakeholders and build confidence among travelers within the country first as other countries are doing as well,” Boncato said.
DOT sets new normal
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the tourism industry is 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Puyat also revealed that tourism revenues and arrivals decreased by more than 50 percent for the first trimester of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
Puyat said that the revenues declined by 55% from January to April 2020.
In 2019, the country earned P180.52 billion compared to this year’s P79.8 billion.
The number of foreigners visiting the Philippines (1.3 million) was also 54% lower than last year, which is 2.8 million.
“With both international and domestic travel restrictions in effect for the entirety of April, there have been no visiting tourists. Therefore, no revenue for the industry this month,” Puyat said.
The DOT said they would be orienting the tourism industry stakeholders with the new normal in a few weeks, Puyat said.