CLARK FREEPORT — As various firms and facilities here resume operations, the tourism and hospitality market in this Freeport is expected to pick up after the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent interview, Widus Hotel General Manager Tarek Aouini is optimistic that tourism activities will improve as hotel facilities are now allowed to operate, while some restrictions have started to ease.
“We assume that the market will start to grow again and so we will keep ensuring, showing, and proving to our clients that they are safe. I believe that the market will soon pick up,” he said.
With their operations back on track, Aouini also mentioned that they are continuously implementing strict protocols and guidelines to ensure the safety of all returning tourists and guests.
“Some other business travelers have also started to come back. But of course, again, we still have to follow all the guidelines and the mandatory requirements and recommendations to make sure that safety comes first to our staff and to our guests. We are now dealing with more business travelers and players,” he added.
According to Aouini, their hotel has started to operate again with 50-percent occupancy. He also said that some of their employees have also returned to work.
“We have been operating for 50-percent occupancy with our staff under the Task Force Team,” he mentioned.
Under Administrative Order 2020-002 issued by the Department of Tourism, accommodation establishments including hotels, motels, ecolodges, condotels, inns, and other establishments providing similar services in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) are allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity and accept all guest bookings, either related to work or leisure.
Meanwhile, Aouini shared that while they heed to the new normal, safeguarding the well-being of their employees and guests will be their priority.
“We are still one step to reach the new normal. And to reach that, first of all, safety comes first for our guests and staff. So we have to keep making sure that we follow the protocols and the guidelines and slowly the local market will feel that safety is there and that they are safe to go to the hotels,” he said.