Major hotels report booking cancellations from HK; HK-Phil flights rebooked, allegedly cancelled

Following the Quirino Grandstand hostage tragedy and a Hong Kong-issued travel ban to the Philippines, two hotels in Makati confirmed on August 24 booking cancellations from Hong Kong residents, reports Business Mirror. Four businessmen from Hong Kong cancelled their reservations at the Mandarin Oriental Manila and their plans to travel to the Philippines, according to the hotel’s Director of Communications Charisse Chuidian. There were also "immediate" cancellations at The Peninsula Manila but the hotel’s Press Relations Manager Joseph Arias declined to divulge exactly how many guests cancelled their bookings.

GMANews.tv reported on August 25 that there are allegedly an unspecified number of cancellations at three unidentified hotels in the Manila Bay area. However, it is still unknown if the supposed guests cancelled their bookings because of the hostage crisis. "Some tourists may have decided to move their accommodations to other hotels in Makati," Philippine Travel Agencies Association President Paz Alberto told GMANews.tv.

Meanwhile, two groups each composed of about 20 tourists from Hong Kong supposedly cancelled their PAL flights, a "source familiar with the matter" told GMANews.tv. The report said the groups cancelled their plane reservations after learning they weren’t covered by travel insurance, which is supposedly withheld for those Manila-bound, according to GMANews.tv’s source. As of posting time, PAL has not confirmed the information.

Cebu Pacific released a statement reported by GMANews.tv saying they received "rebooking requests for less than five percent of the total daily passengers carried in its Hong Kong flights." The statement also said that those who have Hong Kong to Philippines (and vice versa) flights scheduled from August 24 to 31 "may rebook their flights or store their travel credits without penalties."

Aside from Hong Kong, which advised its citizens to avoid all travel to the Philippines following the hostage tragedy, no other countries have issued travel advisories similar to Hong Kong’s, Inquirer.net reported on August 25. The British Embassy in the Philippines said the United Kingdom included "a factual reference to the (hostage taking) incident in the (United Kingdom’s) travel advice (which) is standard practice for events of this type." Although France advised its citizens to be vigilant in the Philippines, its travel advisory also said the hostage tragedy "does not reflect a fundamental change in terms of security in (Manila)."

For more on this story, log on to Business Mirror, GMANews.tv and Inquirer.net .

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