ILOILO CITY — Annual festivals such as this city’s Dinagyang prompt peak seasons for the hotel industry, and small and medium-scale facilities also stand to cash in on the tourist influx, especially if they have government accreditation, according to the local tourism office.
“We encourage them to be accredited by the DoT (Department of Tourism) so that we can also help them promote their services,” City Tourism Officer Florence King H. Erlano said last week.
Mr. Erlano noted that as of the second week of January, 50% of about 4,300 hotel rooms in the city were already reported booked for the Dinagyang Festival 2019 weekend on Jan. 25-27.
Hotels in the city proper are the most in-demand since these are near the five judging areas of the Dinagyang’s main event, the Ati tribes’ streetdance competition.
“Once the area in city proper is fully booked, tourists and can guests can still look for other hotel rooms located in Jaro (district) and Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao,” Mr. Erlano said.
Among the major hotels in the city are international chain Marriot, and local brands Seda, Richmonde, Hotel 101, and Go Hotels.
“We are expecting more guests, including foreigners, this year because we had a lot of successful promotions last year through various local and international media,” he added.
In anticipation of the increased demand for accommodations and as part of the festival preparations, the City Tourism Office inspected all registered facilities, including those without a DoT accreditation yet.
“The department had been conducting inspection for the issuance of the tourism license. During the investigation, we were able to check their facilities and room and until now we haven’t received any complaints regarding the servicing of these unaccredited hotels,” Mr. Erlano said.
Earlier, the DoT Western Visayas office said MV Pacific Venus, a cruise ship from Japan carrying 400 tourists, will make a stop in Iloilo to join the Dinagyang Festival highlights.
DoT Regional Director Helen J. Catalbas said the visit is significant because it means the city passed the cruise ship’s standards.
The ship’s executives came to the city in January 2018 to inspect tourism facilities as well as hospitals and banking access.
“The standards of Japanese tourists are very high and we have met the standards already. During the inspection, they were impressed, that is why they decided to push through with the cruise ship arrival in January (this year),” Ms. Catalbas said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo