By Jennifer P. Rendon
Still able to find a nice hotel accommodation for Dinagyang Festival?
“That’s already gold. Swerte ka na if you could find one,” Allan Tan, president of the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc., said.
Tan, a hotelier himself, said that big hotels, especially along the B. Aquino Avenue in Mandurriao district and the downtown area in City Proper have long been fully-booked.
Just like hotels, tickets for the Ati-Ari tribe competitions have also been sold out.
“If we use the 2023 Dinagyang as a benchmark, the tickets were sold out a week before the activity. But for this year’s Dinagyang, tickets were sold out two weeks before the activity,” he said.
Natalie Lim, chairperson of Iloilo MICE Alliance, also shared Tan’s sentiments.
“We’re very happy to have a very good problem that hotels are already fully booked already,” she said.
Lim, who is the general manager of Richmonde Hotel located at the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao district, claimed that they have been fully-booked as early as two months ago.
She said that there’s also no room available at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott.
“In our cause, guests initially booked for Jan. 26 and 27 and it was stretched from Jan. 25 to 27,” she said.
Guests who wanted to stay with Richmonde or Courtyard were advised to avail of Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their property with people who are looking for accommodations, typically for short stays.
“We have a long waitlist. For those who were not able to get rooms, we advised them to look for alternative accommodation,” she said.
However, Lim said that even the more than 300 condo units at the IBP area have also been fully-booked for the occasion.
Compared in the past several years, Lim said that this year’s Dinagyang is the earliest and fastest booking pace where hotels get full right away.
“That’s why, we really expect a big crowd,” she said.
Lim pegged that DOT-accredited hotels in Iloilo City could offer more than 3,000 rooms.
Meanwhile, Karmela Jesena, Festival Walk Iloilo general manager, said they’re expecting a huge number of festival goers this year for the Dinagyang Festival.
Last year, IBP goers were pegged at more than 100,000.
“We’re expecting an influx of goers since the whole stretch of the IBP will be filled with activities,” she said.
Aside from its own food festival, several bands, performers and movie/television stars will have their show at the IBP.