Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) – June 19, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The continued growth of tourist arrivals and the extension of incentives for tourism ecozones have been driving more investments in the country as bulk of new hotel rooms is in the pipeline until 2023, property consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank said.

“The golden age of hotel construction in the Philippines continues with more than 10,800 hotel rooms in the pipeline in Manila and Cebu,” Santos Knight Frank chairman and CEO Rick Santos said in a media briefing.

Santos dubbed the Philippines as a hot market for the travel and hotel industry, driven by the continued growth of tourist arrivals in the country.

Based on latest figures from the Department of Tourism(DOT), foreign arrivals from January to April this year grew 8.5 percent to 2.87 million. The numbers are targeted to hit 8.2 million by the end of the year.

Local tourists also remain a key growth market, with the number of domestic tourists reaching 110 million in 2018, a 14.1 percent rise from 96.4 million in 2017.

“With a rosy outlook for tourism, major destinations such as Manila and Cebu have witnessed a rising number of new hotels which will cater to expected growth in demand,” Santos Knight Frank said.

Santos Knight Frank senior director for research and consultancy Jan Custodio said Metro Manila has the greatest number of upcoming hotel rooms with 6,970 in the pipeline until 2023, concentrating mainly in the Bay Area, Makati, Ortigas and BGC.

Meanwhile, Cebu has at least 3,806 rooms in the pipeline until 2023, majority of which will be in Lapu-Lapu City.

Custodio said two integrated resort developments, namely Isla dela Victoria and Emerald Resort & Casino, are expected to increase tourism arrivals in Cebu.

On the sidelines of the briefing, Custodio told reporters that the extension of the grant of incentives to tourism enterprise zones(TEZs) is seen to further attract local and foreign investments.

“It’s really going to drive hotel operators or tourism oriented developers to invest more in the market and that could help the industry grow even more,” Custodio said.

“Having the incentives would not only attract local investors, but also foreign investors as well because as presented earlier, it’s a sunshine industry. I expect it to take off especially if all the infrastructure projects come into place,” he said.

President Duterte earlier signed Republic Act 11262 which extends the grant of incentives to TEZs for another 10 years until 2029 by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Among the incentives to be granted to TEZ developers and tourism enterprises include a six-year income tax holiday that may be extended for another six years, a five percent preferential tax on gross income in lieu of national taxes except for real property tax and fees of TIEZA, a net operating loss carry over scheme, import tax exemptions for capital goods and equipment needed for TIEZA-registered activities, and import tax exemptions for transport equipment and spare parts needed for TIEZA-registered activities.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/06/19/1927579/tourism-arrivals-investments-drive-growth-hotel-rooms#vk4gco7TqLcBvy1R.99

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