Tourism continues to be a sunshine sector for the Philippine economy this year. The Department of Tourism reported an increase in tourist arrivals and also, reported that Chinese tourists are now arriving again since the Chinese government banned their citizens in coming to the country because of the Luneta hostage.
Tourist arrivals prompted the local and international hotel sectors to build more hotels and the real estate companies to build more resorts, entertainment hub, and medical tourism facilities.
Health professionals are urging the government to focus on the booming medical tourism because more foreigners are choosing for non-expensive treatments, English-speaking medical professionals and staffs, and a tropical climate.
ROQUE SORIOSO: The Department of Tourism reported that visitor arrivals totalled more than 1.6 million visitors during the first quarter, keeping the department ahead of its intended target of 4.9 million visitors in 2012.
Government-accredited hotels have been reporting high average occupancy rates for the whole year. For the past two years, hotel occupancy rates during peak season are usually at full capacity, which are prompting new investments in the hospitality sector.
Many real estate companies such as Robinson’s Land and SM Properties have committed billions of pesos on hospitality CAPEX for 2013. This is on top of the large investments foreign hotel chains and casinos are installing in the market. Tourism is one of the bright spots and a main growth driver of the Philippine economy.
RAMON C.F. CUERVO: I forecasted that in 2012, service sectors will continue to drum up the economy and this include the tourism industry, one of the prime movers of Philippine economy.
DOT 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.
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.
Ms. Cyndy Jarabata of 7107 Insider said that “The new campaign doesn’t make developers put money where their mouth is, believing that “it’s more fun to invest in the Philippines.” And I fully agree with her.
This development has prompted new investments in the tourism sector. Many real estate companies have committed billions of pesos on hospitality CAPEX for 2012 and 2013.
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.
I also forecasted that the medical tourism will improve this year. It is one of the key industries for tourism. Medical tourism invites foreign patients to avail themselves of quality but cheaper health care services in the country. In turn, it will create development projects for real estate industry.
More hospitals, particularly tertiary hospitals are rising. One example is Quezon City where it will be having 5 new hospitals- Providence Hospital, Metro North Medical Center, Pacific Global Medical Center, and Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center, which is already opened to the public. The city, which is promoting Health and Wellness as its One Town, One Product project under Department of Trade and Industry, is the location of 15 government hospitals and 32 private hospitals licensed by the Department of Health and accredited by PhilHealth.
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.
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.
The tourism and medical tourism in the country will remain robust in 2013 and the coming years. Even though medical tourism in the Philippines is facing a challenging time, the Philippines is taking positive steps to maintain a slice of the lucrative medical tourism market.
Sources of Data:
- Roque Sorioso Jr.
- Institute for Philippine Real Estate Appraisers (IPREA)
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