ASEAN  SUMMIT:  CEBU  TRIES  TO  BRING  BACK  WAIT-LISTED  TOURISTS

MANILA
, DECEMBER 11, 2006 (STAR) By Helen Flores - Hotels in Cebu are trying to lure back tourists who were not able to book rooms because of two Asian summits that were eventually postponed.

Last Friday, the national organizing committee of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits announced that the two events originally scheduled to start today in Cebu would be moved to January next year because of typhoon "Seniang."

Tourism Undersecretary for planning and promotion Eduardo Jarque said the hotels would come out with "super discounted rates" to attract tourists.

"If ever, these will be the lowest rates they will offer tourists," he said in a phone interview.

Jarque said tourists, who usually visit the country during the Christmas holidays, failed to get accommodations due to the two summits in Cebu.

Among these hotels are the Shangri-La Mactan, Marco Polo, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, Hilton Cebu Resort and Spa Hotel, Plantation Bay Resort, and Maribago Bluwater Resort, he added.

Jarque said 80 percent of hotel rooms in Cebu City were booked for the Asean delegates, but because of the cancellation of the summits, 70 percent of the rooms are now vacant.

Jarque said the summits were expected to double the income of hotels and resort companies in Cebu, as well as those of other local businesses.

"There are groups of tourist who canceled their trips because they cannot get rooms," he said.

Jarque said the hotels will be losing millions of pesos in revenues because of the cancellation of bookings, and that hotels in partnership with the Department of Tourism are trying to attract the tourists with come-ons.

They are also coordinating with the tourism offices in South Korea, Japan and China to help them in marketing the country, he added.

He was informed yesterday by the general managers of Cebu Marriott Hotel and Plantation Bay that hotel room occupancy will be back to normal by Tuesday as South Korean tourists and other groups of foreigners are beginning to book more rooms, Jarque said.

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano said Seniang has disrupted tourism traffic in the two major destinations in Cebu and Boracay.

But, he said, "we will still achieve nine to 10 percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals."

Durano is optimistic that "combined marketing networks of the DOT and private sector are in high gear to maximize the remaining weeks of the year."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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