While tourism remains down across the globe, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has noted that it should return to pre-pandemic levels sometime in the next four years. For investors looking to capitalize on this rebound, the Philippine hotel sector provides a number of opportunities.

Many hospitality properties have decreased in value or are in the hands of owners willing to sell for less. Meanwhile, some hotels have been able to tap into new markets or found other ways to bring in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be attractive to investors wanting to keep the lights until international travel resumes.

“The hotel and tourism sectors are some of the worst-hit real estate asset classes across the world. Hotels have been forced to pivot, innovate, and explore financing options to sustain their operations. We have seen an increasing number of hotels in the Philippines who are now looking at repurposing their spaces for other uses, such as office and residential, and retrofitting their facilities to address safety and health protocols,” Rick Santos, Chairman & CEO of Santos Knight Frank, explains.

Related: The need for tourism-focused real estate in the Philippines

Philippine hotel sector eyes reopening

There is still no clear timeframe for when the country will reopen to overseas arrivals once more, but the Department of Tourism (DOT) continues to explore all options available. For now, the Philippine hotel sector remains in a holding pattern where it can only rely on domestic guests.

However, there is hope international tourism will resume sooner rather than later. Verna Buensuceso, OIC-Undersecretary for Tourism Development of the Department of Tourism confirmed that government is preparing for entry protocols for fully vaccinated travelers while working with COVID-19 inter-agency taskforce to establish more relaxed rules for visitors.

The Phuket Sandbox in Thailand is a possible tourism model that could eventually be adapted for popular locations in the Philippines. That program allows for vaccinated international tourists to visit the island without needing to quarantine assuming they meet additional criteria and follow set rules.

Related: When will Bali, Phuket and other destinations in Southeast Asia reopen for quarantine-free travel?