MORE violations by quarantine hotels have been recorded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), some of which have been selling guest rooms on travel and hotel booking engines to staycationers and other leisure guests.
With the new Covid virus variants found in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Japan posing as additional threats to the safety and health of Filipinos, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said her agency is now on heightened alert and will have “zero tolerance” for even the slightest violation quarantine hotels of health protocols.
“Lives are on the line and our economic recovery depends on everybody being responsible. Let us all perform our duties well. Each has an important role to play in managing this [health] crisis,” she said in a news statement.
The appeal is also aimed at accommodation establishments without a Certificate of Accreditation to Operate as a Staycation (CAOS) hotel, and tour operators and other entities that continue to post invitations or make false, deceptive and misleading claims or statements for the purpose of soliciting business from clients. These non-staycation enterprises have been using social media to carry its ads.
This reporter, for one, was able to make dupe bookings in two quarantine hotels in Metro Manila on the booking engine, Agoda, without being informed that these are not open for staycationers. There are no clear markings or notations on the landing pages of these hotels that they only accept quarantine guests.
Brought to her attention, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association President Christine Ann U. Ibarreta said she has reminded their members “to indicate whether you are a staycation hotel or a quarantine hotel. Indicate them on your web site and advice partner OTAs (online travel agencies).”
The DOT is reminding the public to check the status of the accommodation establishment before booking. The list of quarantine hotels may be found here https://bit.ly/2LFiVln
The recent death of flight stewardess Christine Angela Dacera at City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati, after a night of New Year’s Eve revelry, has put an even brighter spotlight on violations made by quarantine hotels, which are not supposed to accept staycationers. Social gatherings of more than 10 people are also not allowed in General Community Quarantine areas, which includes Metro Manila.
The Makati City government has threatened to revoke the business permit of City Garden, owned by businesswoman Jeanette Lim Macasieb, for allegedly violating health protocols
Earlier, the DOT also warned another quarantine hotel managed by an international hotel chain in Clark, Pampanga after a guest reported that it was accepting staycationers.
The recent violations by quarantine hotels under the pandemic have been a thorn in Romulo Puyat’s side, prompting her to describe them as “greedy.”
She said in an interview with ANC that hotels “have a choice. If they want to accept leisure guests, apply as a ‘staycation’ hotel. They shouldn’t mix quarantine and leisure guests.”
The DOT is currently looking at reviewing the fines and sanctions on accredited tourism enterprises in the light of increasing violations especially by quarantine hotels. (See, “Group backs stronger sanctions vs stakeholders’ violations,” in the BusinessMirror, Jan. 11, 2021.)