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2022 is expected to be a ‘strong recovery’ year for hotels.

After noticing an increase in Filipinos’ confidence to travel, hotels are forecasting a “strong recovery” year in 2022.

In a recent press conference, the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Inc. (PHOA) board of directors and vice president for SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation Ma. Luisa Angeles 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.”

According to PHOA President Arthur Lopez, recovery to pre-pandemic levels could take three to four years, or at least until global air traffic returns to 2019 levels.

“[I]f airlines do not fly, there will be no recovery, and (there was a time) IATA previously stated that 2024 is merely the beginning. In other words, it must reach its apex for one or two years “he stated

“There will be a boom in travel because everyone wants to travel and those who want to travel have a lot of money to spend,” he said. “But I think we have to be realistic,” he added. “I advised our hotels at the time that 2024 should only be (marked) as the start of recovery, not recovered yet.”

Given the current situation, PHOA Vice President for Internal Affairs Al Legaspi stated that hotels may need to refocus their marketing efforts.

“Business travel may not pick up as quickly as it could,” he said, “but it will eventually because companies and corporations from other countries will have to come here.”

“All hotels need to do now is refocus their marketing efforts to include leisure as well as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions). The market for mice is also a highly promising one for us “Added he.

Benito Bengzon, Jr., PHOA Executive Director and former Tourism Undersecretary gave a short evaluation of the hotel sector in 2021, saying that the relaxing of interzonal travel laws as well as Metro Manila’s de-escalation from Alert Level 3 to 2 have helped enhance hotel occupancy.

However, in terms of revenue, 2020 outperforms 2021 since inbound tourists were able to enter the country from January until the March lockdown, but in 2021, borders remain virtually closed all year.

In a separate interview, he stated, “When people say 2020 is better than 2021, they’re coming from that mindset na may revenue na pumasok.”

According to the latest figures from the Department of Tourism, international tourist spending generated at least PHP4.41 billion from January to August 2021, a significant decrease from the PHP79.80 billion reported in the same period last year.

“Hindi mo mahabol, tingin ko hindi mo mahabol ‘yong headcount ng 2020 dahil sarado ka pa rin the whole of 2021 and ang visa category mo for leisure hindi pa rin allowed,” Bengzon added.

Last December 1, the government was set to open its borders to foreign leisure tourists for the first time since the epidemic began, but the idea was shelved after the Omicron variant emerged.

Bengzon, for one, said PHOA will remain committed to guaranteeing the “safe and convenient” stay of its visitors in the case of a spike caused by the Omicron variety.

“I believe we are more equipped than most other businesses,” he remarked.

According to Bengzon, the committee has also organized a technical working group that will offer recommendations to the Department of Tourism on how to make the hotel rating system more globally competitive.

PHOA represents a total of 308 hotels and resorts throughout the Philippines, with Metro Manila accounting for 47 percent of them.

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