NCOV has tremendous effect on Bohol, Boracay, El Nido



By Rose de la Cruz


The new coronavirus epidemic is affecting tremendously tourist spots like Bohol, Boracay and El Nido but in terms of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan it is lucky to have a diversified market—a blend of corporate and social clients and a lot of its mix comes from Metro Manila, Regions 3, 4 which is why it maintained its prosperity in the era of NCOV.


This was reported by Paul Kerr, president of resorts, hotels and sports of the New San Jose Builders Inc., a diversified property group that owns and operates the Las Casas resorts and hotels in Bagac and the posh restaurant of the same name along Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City.


Declining arrivals


He admits though that just like the rest in the hospitality sector, Las Casas is getting hit in foreign arrivals with the significant decrease in visitors from China and Korea—now the top visitors of the Philippines.


Besides, most of the activities of Las Casas are outdoors which is why contamination is lessened since there are no main hotel buildings in the sprawling resort. “We are a bit safer in several aspects,” he emphasized.


Most hotels and resorts have augmented their sanitary procedures and protocols to protect the clients by putting hand sanitizers all over the place, giving masks to anybody who has any kind of symptoms and there is someone checking if guests are healthy enough, “We also protect the staff as best as possible,” Kerr said.




Industry officials have reported losses could run to P20 billion because of decreasing number of foreign visitors since Chinese and Koreans are the top tourists in the Philippines.


“If this (NCOV) continues for two or three months we are looking at losing a quarter of our foreign arrivals for the year (from 7.5 million visitors in 2019). It takes time to build up again,” Kerr said.


As most economists in the world have said there will be an economic downturn all over the world, with an expected flu-like symptoms and mortality rate of as high as 2 percent outside of Hubei province and elsewhere in the world for as low as 0.2 percent.


More hotels for QC


Las Casas, known for its heritage houses and Spanish-inspired restaurants first ventured into a sports hotel along EDSA and Timog and would soon open six other upscale hotels in Metro Manila, mostly in Quezon City, now served largely by boutique hotels.


Kerr said they hope to complete and operate the Victoria Sports Hotel this year.


Kerr announced that the group is opening six other hotels in QC which would come in various brands four of which are sports hotels (with the first one to operate is the Victoria Sports Hotel near the Kamuning station of MRT),  another beside the Victoria de Manila 1 along Taft Avenue across Philippine Women’s University, one in Hidalgo, Quiapo and one in Monumento.


This will be augmented by two non-sports hotels under the brand Las Casas Collection brand—one would be a 200-room hotel beside Las Casas in Roosevelt and one on Timog Avenue, the Victoria Arts and Theater.


He said the reason for focusing in Metro Manila, particularly in QC, is that there is a huge unfilled market for hotels in Quezon City which has very few large hotels that would offer complete amenities and vital services.


Most of our condominiums now will offer sports and hotels as part of the recreational facility.


No competition in sports hotels


Kerr (who spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry 3 years of which are in the Philippines) said Novotel, being an international brand, is not their direct competitor but SEDA Vertis Hotel (of the Ayalas) being a homegrown brand could be the direct competitor but not from a recreational standpoint but in terms of sports hotels, there is no competition yet.


“We will target more four-star audience with lifestyle emphasis whereas SEDA Vertis is very much a business hotel targeting a 5-star audience,” he explained.


For all six hotel projects and two Las Casas Collection hotels, the timetable is six years or 2026 with the first one, Victoria Sports EDSA targeted for end of 2020. The rooms are now in the final stages or finishing touches. But the condominium is already operating and so with the sports club but the hotel is still in the finishing stage.


He said the QC market is huge which boutique hotels but there is no large hotel with over 100-150 rooms.


Kerr said the four sports hotels will be known as Victoria sports hotels and the Las Casas Collections will have their own name.


The flagship is Las Casas in Bataan has been prospering and becoming more well known in the market and is starting to target foreign visitors as well. It is adding a marina which would hopefully be finished end this 2020 where eventually there would be a yacht club and further developments.  Year-round occupancy in Bagac is less than the industry average but it was designed for low- occupancy because of day tours.  


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Thursday, 20 February 2020
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