By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

ILOILO CITY — The demand for accommodations during this year’s Dinagyang Festival highlighted the growing vacation home rental sector in Iloilo City, and the local government will now be looking into the regulation of these types of accommodations.

“We monitored that there are a lot of condominium units full of guests already for Dinagyang,” City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) head Junel Ann P. Divinagracia said in a press conference last week.

“We don’t have a record of these vacation home rental sectors so we cannot account them yet. That’s what we really want, to monitor them or regulate them,” she added.

Ms. Divinagracia noted that the home rental segment has been boosted by the rise of various online booking sites, with Airbnb, Inc. being the most popular.

“Right now, Airbnb is trending in the city,” she said.

The city currently has an inventory of about 5,000 hotel rooms, all of which were already fully booked more than week before the main Dinagyang festivities during the 4th Sunday of January.

Among the major hotels in the city are international chain Marriot, and local brands Seda, Richmonde, Hotel 101, and Go Hotels.

“We have more than 5,000 (registered) rooms all over the city and it is still increasing, but as of the moment, most huge hotels are overbooked while the rest are fully booked,” Ms. Divinagracia said.

The CTDO was expecting to draw around 100,000 domestic and foreign tourists during the Dinagyang week.

“Last year, we recorded close to 100,000 tourist arrivals, we are expecting to exceed the number this year,” she said.

The Dinagyang guests include returning Ilonggos who are either overseas Filipino workers or migrants, some of whom usually stay at relatives’ homes.

“There are a lot of family reunions and most of the OFWs are staying in their relatives and they don’t need to book in the hotels,” she said.

In terms of tourism receipts, CTDO data shows that during the Dinagyang season, foreign guests shell out an average of P12,000 a day, while domestic tourists spend around P3,000 to P4,000.