Hotels in Cebu to remain closed past holidays, says operator

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 21) — The tourism sector faces yet another hurdle: the impact of Typhoon Odette. A hotel operator said their properties would remain closed even past the Christmas season as they recover from the damage caused by the storm.

"We are going to remain closed past the holidays that's for sure," Chroma Hospitality Country Manager James Montenegro told CNN Philippines' The Final Word.

The company manages some of the high-end hotels across the country like the Quest and Crimson hotels in Cebu City and Mactan.

Tens of thousands were displaced and many homes were destroyed after Odette unleashed heavy rains and fierce winds on the central and southern portions of the country. Cebu was among those hit hard by the typhoon.

Montenegro said their hotels are still being used by some guests and locals as temporary shelters. Electricity and water also remain to be the biggest challenge for them and the communities they assist, he added.

Montenegro said they are hoping to reopen in Mactan before the Holy Week, or earlier. As for Cebu City, they are eyeing to resume operations before the Sinulog Festival in January - as long as electricity is restored as soon as possible.

At least 156 have been reported killed due to Odette, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. However, only nine of these deaths have been validated. Majority of the fatalities were from the provinces of Bohol and Cebu.