Business Opportunities in Philippine Tourism

Having been active in promoting Tourism Developments and Investments in the ’80- late 90’s , I feel that as I look back, that now is the ripe time to once more start my advocacy in making the Real Estate Sector and Developers, realize that there is indeed Business Opportunities in Philippine Tourism. 

Sometime in early 1990′ and again in 1996, I organized two International Conferences on Tourism Investments and Development for Real Estate Developers. These Conferences was attended by about 500 delegates from all over the World. We had Government VIP Speakers, Lecturers from USA, EUROPE, Spain, Hawaii, England, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia. The SUCCESS was the Exhibits from all the Regions of the Philippines and the Promotions of Destinations that needed Investments, INFRASTRUCTURES and A Tourism Master Plan.

Today, we see that there are many business opportunities here in our country with regards to our tourism industry. “IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES”-This is the Department of tourism’s tag line in promoting the beautiful places, beaches, islands, and many enthusiastic outdoor activities that surely will bring fun to everyone who will witness and experience the beauty of nature in the country.

“With 7,107 islands, and a coastline twice the length of that of the United States, the Philippines can claim to be Asia’s Beach Capital. Enjoy the warm crystal blue waters of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mention the Philippines and images of long, white sand beaches and bodies of water blessed with a variety of marine life come to mind”.- DOT

It is now first week of February and yet the summer heat comes earlier than expected. And during this season, people are starting to plan where to go this summer.

Tourism “Aces”: Winning the Tourism, Amusement, and Hospitality Industry

During the years that I was active in tourism development projects, I had a passion for traveling, and exploring the Beauty of the Philippines, with a sense of Adventure, Love for Nature and the Sea. I used to go up the Mountains, Go Camping, and enjoy the country side.

This interest and attraction I had for going into the Tourism and Real Estate industry, became my vision  for a career, after having attended several conferences, business meetings and tours in Spain in 1976 and 1986. I learned, and discovered that the tourism industry was one of the most important economic contributors of the development growth of nations.

We have observed that in Spain then, was they would have as much as 40 Million Tourists! Spain having very good sunny weather, fantastic beaches, museums, historical tourist spots, great yet simple accommodations, the necessary infrastructure for accessibility , fun “Fiestas” cultural activities, water and mountain sports,  very good Spanish cuisine and different choices of good food, as well as other tourism oriented “Pueblo” Rural settings that will give you a unique, enjoyable,  experience of lifestyles during the 1550’s to the 19th century of Spanish Heritage.

The “6- Aces” of Tourism Development for the Philippines:

AFFECTION & The World Class Filipino Smile:

Filipinos have the best smile. We are generally a happy people. We enjoy being hospitable, and friendly. Our resilience, and good attitude, is that we all can manage to smile despite our problems. Just like our fellowmen that’s victim of storm surge Yolanda, in the news we can see smiles in their lips, even after the tragedy.

ACCESS & Tourism Infrastructure:

Tourism Infrastructure such as airports, seaports, roads, is the essential backbone of tourism. Good working Tourism infrastructures will render traveling seamless. Seamless Travel inc. was a project that my group introduced during the admits ration of former President Joseph Estrada and DOT Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta. . The Idea was to book Tours & Travel utilizing a simple ticketing system.

This was an idea that I learned, innovated, and tried to improve, with the “Tourism Highway” program and master plan of former Tourism Secretary, Mina Gabor.

In its report “East Asia and Pacific Economic Update”, the World Bank said that “In the Philippines catching up on government infrastructure spending will provide the fiscal spark that is still missing in the country’s growth path, although infrastructure spending is gearing up recently.”

One analyst said that the country may be quite late in infrastructure development compared to its ASEAN neighbors, but it is better to start doing it late than not do it at all.

ACTIVITIES & FUN, FILIPINO CULTURE & CUISINE:

Tourism Activities,  refers to what the different choices and alternatives that  tourists will experience and enjoys , in our country. We need a strategy, to make their visit enjoyable with Fun and Laughter, and very happy memorable moments.

Tourism oriented Activities, such as Cultural Shows, Dance and Music, rich in Our Filipino Heritage, which is very appreciated by our Local and Foreign Tourists. Several international sporting events are being held in the country, such as Shopping in Malls , Sports , like the Triathlon in Subic, International Wakeboard Championships in CamSur Watersports Complex, FIBA Asia Championships in MOA Arena, etc. This are also some interesting attractions for our Tourists.

ACCESSIBILITY: Tourism infrastructure and the “Seamless Travel” concept

For foreigners, our Immigration Bureau is a nightmare. For commuters of MRT and LRT, the daily experience is humanly demeaning. We need more Roads, Airports, Seaports, and Means of Transportation that are comfortable ,Safe and Secure, at par with International Travel Standards. The idea I had then on the Seamless Travel concept was to issue a single ticket system that will connect the Traveler or tourist with Airport transfer, Hotel booking, all the way up to boat rides, or tours. This was to be done on line using a software travel system for connectivity, reservations, tours and transport.

ACCOMMODATIONS: The need and Demand for World Class Hotels & Resorts:

Government-accredited hotels have been reporting high average occupancy rates for the whole year.  For the past two years, hotel occupancy rates have reached 70% on an average, and as high as 90% , during peak season , at the CBD Areas of Makati, Ortigas, Greenhills, Cebu, Mactan, Boracay, Palawan and other major Tourist Destinations. Resorts and Hotels in the Tagaytay area, are usually also going on at full capacity, during holidays. With the Growing Demand, we see Business Opportunities. In Hotel and Resort Development, especially in New Tourism growth corridors. These Tourism development projects are prompting new investments, capital and equity contributions by Foreign and Domestic players, with an appetite in the hospitality and tourism sector.

According to Cyndy Jarabata, Metro Manila is expecting 55% increase of hotel room supply from 16,486 available rooms to 25,654 between 2012 to 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.

AIRPORTS: Point of Entry, the First impression and our “face to the world”

“I am afraid the two security breaches at NAIA, including one where people actually got killed in an ambush, may be used by the FAA as a reason to delay Cat 1 status indefinitely… as with CAAP’s continuing inability to hire younger professionals as check pilots and air traffic controllers.” Mr. Boo Chanco of Philippine Star Business wrote on his article “Key Results Area”. We in the Philippines have been nominated as having one of the worst airports in the world. We are short of Airports. Even in very important tourism destinations, we still have not developed our Airports. I see no reason why, Mindoro, that is so rich, with much Tourism Development Opportunities does not have an international or even Domestic Airport.

To conclude, I strongly advice, that we in the Private Sector, ought to take the daring step forward and do PPP Tourism Projects with LGUs. This is Feasible, even if it be on a BOT, BOO, PPP, Concession basis, Lease arrangements, Joint Ventures, and other forms of PPP modalities.

TOMORROW we shall continue and see how Tourism Development ought to contribute to the Preservation of Nature, The Environment, and its Protection. Tourism Development, or “Progress” is no excuse or a substitute to the Value and long term positive effects of Preservation. Respect for Endangered species, Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection.

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