TOURISM authorities are optimistic that the industry would be further enhanced by the launch of a new rating system for the country’s hotels and resorts following a national review of accommodations in key island destinations in the Philippines conducted by a team of international and local experts.
New standards under the Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation System aim to assist visitors in terms of the quality, service and comfort provided by accommodation businesses of all sizes and types in the Philippines.
The system, which was launched last year, reviewed 144 hotels and resorts in the country’s main island destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Davao and Palawan.
Last month, a national review of accommodation standards was again conducted by a team of International Accommodation Assessors (IAAs) together with Department of Tourism (DOT) personnel and their initial findings showed that the country’s hotels and resorts are ready to compete globally.
The DOT tapped international assessors to ensure that the review is based on accepted international standards.
The review itself is part of a technical assistance funded by the Government of Canada and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The review is aimed at improving competitiveness in the tourism sector, in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration.
The 10-member team of IAA experts from different countries said Philippine hotels and resorts, including the small players have “very high standards” in keeping the unique Filipino hospitality, one of the country’s competitive advantages.
“The warmth of welcome for guests in all types of accommodation is almost unique among international destinations. There is a real potential for the Philippine tourism industry. Some hotels and resorts need to invest to improve, but the new rating system can help identify where to focus that investment,” the initial report noted.
Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin, chairperson of the DOT Project Steering Committee, said the technical assistance is crucial in helping the department to implement Improving Competitiveness in Tourism, a roadmap designed to increase foreign tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2016.
“Data will be carefully analyzed in order to further strengthen and develop the accommodation standards system and enable us to compete at the highest international levels in the future,” said Jasmin.
Jasmin added, “These new standards will help guide Philippine hotels and resorts on where they could invest to further improve their businesses. They are shown to be equally effective in identifying excellence, enabling the finest properties and managers to show the way for others. The standards clearly identify examples of best practice for use by all types and levels of accommodation.”
Hotel owners and senior managers in all the properties visited welcomed the new set of standards, describing it as a significant improvement on the old standards introduced in 1992.
“Owners and managers welcomed the introduction of the internationally understood one to five-star grading approach. They understood that not everyone can be, or should be, five stars and that some of the most successful hotels and brands internationally hold two or three stars,” Jasmin said.
Final results of the assessment will be released this month.