HIGH TOURISTS ARRIVAL PROMPTED NEW INVESTMENT IN TOURISM
The Department of Tourism reported that a total of 2.85M tourists have visited the Philippines from January to August his year as DOT-accredited hotels have been reporting high occupancy rates, thus keeping the department on its sight to reach its target of 4.9M tourist arrival this year which is higher than the 3.9M target in 2011.
From January to August this year, Koreans tops the list as they recorded a total of 23.76% arrivals followed by the Americans at 15.63% and Japanese at 9.78%. Rounding up the top 10 visitors are Chinese, Taiwanese, Australians, Singaporeans, Canadians, Hong Kong, and British.
This development has prompted new investments in the tourism sector. Many real estate companies such as Robinson’s Land and SM Properties have committed billions of pesos on hospitality CAPEX for 2012 and 2013. This is on top of the large investments foreign hotel chains and casinos are installing in the market.
Aside from SM and Robinsons, new international hotel brands are bullish on the Philippines as Grand Hyatt, Fairmount Raffles, and Movenpick and Park Inn will be opening in the country. Previous hotel operators such as Sheraton, Mercure, and Novotel are planning to return to the country.
Seeing that integrated resorts and gaming projects as key drivers of tourism revenue growth, the stakeholders PAGCOR Entertainment City is planning a consolidated marketing strategy to compete with Macau and Singapore and attract the gaming market.
Tourism developments are also bullish outside Metro Manila as local resorts developers are making developments to accommodate more tourists outside the capital. San Miguel Corporationand Megaworld’s tourism complex rises in Boracay, Ayala Land operates 4 resorts in El Nido, and Alphaland is making a immense development in Balesin, Quezon.
DOT’s slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines” has been achieving its mission to lure more tourists and investors to the country. This slogan also inspired the Filipinos to take part in the campaign by sharing the wonders of the country and its rich history and culture.
“The new campaign doesn’t make developers put money where their mouth is, believing that “it’s more fun to invest in the Philippines,”” says Cyndy Tan Jarabata of 7107 Insider.
INCREASE IN HOTEL ROOM SUPPLY AND THE NEED FOR A PREMIERE AIRPORT
According to Jarabata, Metro Manila is expecting 55% increase of hotel room supply from 16,486 available rooms to 25,654 between 2012-2016. Another 4,099 rooms are expected to open outside the metropolis to accommodate the staggering tourism growth and puts the hospitality and tourism industry as investment vanguards.
“The Aquino government forecasts 10M foreign tourists and 35.5M domestic travellers by 2016, earning tourist receipts of P1.99 Trillion and estimates to generate 700,000 jobs,” Jarabata said. She views this as an ambitious target considering the tourism problems of the country such as the congested airports, lack of basic roads, poor airport infrastructures in some provinces, etc.
A premiere airport infrastructure is a must as what outgoing Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) President Aileen Clemente views it. “It doesn’t matter if these airports are premier or not, what matters is the number of airports, the quality of runways, and the size of the terminals to make flying in and out of the country safe and convenient,” Clemente said.
CITATIONS AND AWARDS FOR BORACAY, PALAWAN, AND OTHER TOP DESTINATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Boracay was recently named as the World’s Best Island Getaway by Travel + Leisure Magazine’s 2012 World’s Best Awards. Property development in Boracay has been ongoing. Latest developments include San Miguel Corporation’s US$ 300M Boracay Airport Complex. This complex will feature 5,000 room budget hotel and a convention center that can accommodate 25,000 persons, thus making it to be the Philippines’ biggest hotel and coliseum. Global-Estate Resorts Inc. will develop its first master-planned tourist hub, Boracay Newcoast which has a total of 14o hectares and 1km white sand beachfront. This development claims 14% of Boracay’s total land area.
Palawan’s exclusive island of Ariara was named by British Vague Magazine as the Number 1 “Holiday Destination” for 2012. Tourist arrivals in Palawan also doubled after the Puerto Princes Underground River was name as one of the New Wonders of Nature. Property sales and hotel investments from local and foreign investors have increased in El Nido, San Vicente, Coron, Busuanga, and Puerto Princesa.
The Nature’s Village Resort in Bacolod was named by an international booking website as one of the world’s top 10 eco-friendly hotels. The resort has proven that it is possible to offer world class tourism while remaining environment-friendly. “Hotels that once considered ‘eco-friendly’ to mean a small environmental footprint and conservation of resources are now taking things a step further,” Agoda chief executive Robert Rosenstein was quoted in reports as saying. The hotel was also awarded the “ASEAN Green Star Hotel Award” in 2010.
Over in the northern Philippine, Vigan City continues to keep history alive. Recently, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded this city in Ilocos Sur its first-ever Best practice in World Heritage Site Management. “Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia,” UNESCO said in its website. “The local community is well integrated into many aspects of the sustainable conservation and management of the property; and a multi-faceted approach to the protection of the site has been developed,” it added.
Metro Manila was listed 4th in fourth in the list of the top 10 Asian “destinations on the rise” by another international travel website, Trip Advisor. “Located on Manila Bay in the South China Sea, and bisected by the Pasig River, the capital of the Philippines is historic and modern, rich and poor,” the website said.
It highlighted the walled city of Intramuros as one of Metro Manila’s popular sights. “The capital during Spanish colonization, Intramuros has retained old dungeons and gunpowder rooms but added art galleries and theaters,” the website said. “The city is filled with museums, shops, parks and churches, plus enough nightlife to last until dawn,” it added.
Mr. Ramon C.F. Cuervo III, the former consultant of former Tourism Secretary, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, said in an interview that “For us, real estate professionals, we need to help in the tourism industry because it a sunshine industry. We need to help to focus on developing the infrastructure such as airports, seaports, roads, which is the backbone of tourism. Good working infrastructures will make travelling seamless, especially in using the Tourism Highway plan of former Tourism Secretary, Mina Gabor.”
He also added that “For the tourism sector also needs the aces in travel: access, accommodation, availability, action, and activity. Give more focus on domestic tourism first then go international, but for this to happen, we must make travel safe, secure, simple, with clean rest rooms, accommodations, and offer good services.”
“It is more than just hospitality or the smile but how good one feels when it’s more fun in the Philippines,” Mr. Cuervo said
- 7107 Insider
- www.rappler.com for Aileen Clemente
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