Inbound business events hold up following Philippine earthquake

THE 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Cebu and neighbouring Bohol on Tuesday is not expected to rattle the Philippine MICE sector for long, although some cancellations and postponement of business events had been registered.

“We do not expect a major impact as both Bohol and Cebu have very broad offerings and their travel and accommodation infrastructure is largely intact,” tourism secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr told TTG e-mice Weekly.

“Except for some disruption for a week or so, we expect tourism, MICE included, to push on,” Jimenez added.

Cebu hoteliers agree that it is business as usual two days after the quake that crumpled heritage churches in both destinations.

“Major hotels withstood the intensity of the quake,” said Lara Constantino-Scarrow, director of sales and marketing, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. “From our survey among the major hotels, there was no evidence of damage except (cosmetic damage like) broken chinaware and glasses. Water supply and electricity are running normally.”

The hotel had some postponement but no cancellation. For instance, a group scheduled to arrive next week had moved their meeting to December.

There were still clients who remained confident of the destination, said Constantino-Scarrow, who added that a MICE group from South Korea had kept to their programme and arrived a day after the earthquake as planned.

Cebu City Marriott Hotel is supporting concerned clients by waiving cancellation penalties.

“We also proactively make calls to our clients with scheduled MICE bookings to confirm if they are still pushing through or to simply give them assurance that there are no structural damages to the hotel,” said Cleofe Albiso, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.

In Bohol where heavier damages were seen at its heritage churches, Chocolate Hills attraction and roads, The Bellevue Resort had been getting cancellations but corporate general manager, John Patrick Chan, expected “everything will be back to normal soon”.


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