Arthur Lopez PHOA President Arthur M. Lopez

2022 ‘Good recovery year’ – PHOA

December 16, 2021 Cristina Lee-Pisco 820 views
PHOA Executive Director and former Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr.

THE Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Inc. (PHOA) is optimistic that 2022 will be a “good recovery year” as hotel occupancy rates saw an increase with the relaxation of guidelines for interzonal travel especially in the last two months of this year.

PHOA board of director and vice president for SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation Ma. Luisa Angeles has said “even if we continue to stay at alert level two, 2022 should really be a good recovery year, not quite the pre-pandemic days but definitely much much better than 2021.”

PHOA Executive Director and former Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr. attributed the increase of hotel bookings to the relaxation of guidelines for interzonal travel and the de-escalation from Alert Level 3 to 2 in Metro Manila.

“The relaxation of guidelines particularly with respect to interzonal has helped increase the occupancy of hotels in and out of Metro Manila so we welcome the decision of authorities to ease the restriction moving from one zone to another. This has helped drive up the occupancy, of course increase the revenue of our member hotels,” Bengzon said.

He noted that the National Capital Region is the main source market for domestic travel, the de-escalation from 3 to 2 has alreafy contributed to stimulating activities and the demand on local travelers.

“From this point and considering the reports on the number of COVID cases whicha has been kept to three digits we feel that 2022 onwards, we’ll see an upward trajectory not only for hotels and other accommodation facilities but for the tourism industry in general,” Bengzon added.

Arthur Lopez, PHOA President, said it could still take about three to four years or at least until after global air traffic returns to 2019 levels to be able to recover to pre- pandemic levels.

“If the airlines will not fly, there would be no recovery and (there was a time) that IATA already said 2024 is only the start or the beginning. In other words, it has to peak for maybe one or two years,” he said.

“There will be a boom in travel because everybody wants to travel and those who want to travel have a lot of money they can spend but I think we have to be realistic so I told our hotels at that time that for their business plans, 2024 should only be (written) as the start of recovery not recovered yet,” he added.

PHOA Vice President for Internal Affairs Al Legaspi noted that given the present situation, hotels need to change their marketing strategies to gain more bookings.

“Business travel may not pick up that fast but eventually it will because companies and corporations overseas will eventually have to come here,” he said.

“Hotels just have to redirect their marketing efforts and capture leisure as well the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). The mice market is also a very strong potential market for us,” he added.

The Philippines did not push through with its plan to open its borders to foreign leisure travelers last December 1 after the surge in cases of the new more transmissible Omicron variant discovered by the South African scientists.

In the event of a surge due to the Omicron variant, Bengzon said PHOA would remain committed to ensuring the “safe and convenient” stay of its guests.

“We can say that we are more prepared than maybe most other businesses,” he stressed.

PHOA has a total of 308 hotels and resorts across the Philippines, 47 percent of which are located in Metro Manila.