• Dusit seeks to expand presence outside Metro

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    HOTEL brand Dusit International is set to expand its presence outside of Metro Manila as it remains optimistic about the country’s potential tourism and business markets, a Dusit official said.

    In an interview following the contract signing for a La Union condotel project, Vice Chairman and President Evelyn Singson of Dusit Thani Makati owner Philippine Hoteliers, Inc. told reporters that the hotel brand has five hotels projects in the pipeline.

    “We have signed three management, actually four management contracts, because there are two in Davao. One is an island resort, one is a regular business hotel, one in Cebu, which is also a business hotel and this one [La Union] is the third,” Singson said.

    Last Thursday, Dusit International signed a management contract with local developer RCL Realty and Consulting Services Inc. for the dusitD2 condotel project in the 7-hectare Waves Beach Club and Residences in San Juan, La Union.

    Besides the signed management contracts, Dusit International Chief Operating Officer Boon Kwee Lim noted that the hotel brand has also a dusitD2 hotel in the works in the Fort and the operational Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

    “So basically, we’re looking at six properties,” Lim said

    Singson noted that aside from the four signed management contracts, the firm is also looking to sign one more deal in Cebu.

    “We might sign another one in Cebu but this one is a resort hotel. But until it is signed it is not considered a project,” Singson said.

    Singson expressed Dusit’s bullish outlook for the Philippines, which is driving its expansion efforts outside of Metro Manila.

    “I think it is general belief that the Philippine economy is going to continue growing, and there are a lot of foreign investors who feel the same way,” Singson said. “At Dusit, we really feel bullish and we have been bullish about this country, and I think one advantage we have is we have looked outside Metro Manila. I think the Philippines is full of beautiful places that can be developed for tourism or business.”

    Singson noted that the hotel brand continues to look for more opportunities to expand their business in the country, which is not solely dependent on managing hotels.

    “Well, we are flexible. Some owners want to continue owning, some want to go on joint venture. Others want to just sell their property or we can lease it. We have some other prospects that are lease-to-own, but we cannot divulge it now because it is not a signed contract yet but we’re discussing. We’re discussing with others,” Singson said.

    Singson said that the hotel brand hopes to bring its total number of hotels to 15 in the next three years, which will also be driven by the opening of its hospitality school next year.

    Besides managing hotels, Dusit will soon venture into the education market, as it is set to open its first hospitality school next year in Fort Bonifacio called the Dusit Hospitality Management College (DHMC).

    The hospitality school supports Dusit’s expansion plans in the Philippines, as it could immediately employ the graduates of the school right after graduation, according to Singson.

    “Because you know once the school starts producing graduates, we‘ll have the opportunity to really support and supply manpower. We need employment for these people. We would be able to use them,” Singson said.

    Furthermore, Lim expressed his overall confidence for doing business in the Philippines.
    “In terms of the confidence in the country, the Philippines is one of the strongest up and coming economies in Asia, and here is a fact because when we talk to investors, Philippines has very good vibes, very positive prospects. The Philippines is moving, so yes it’s catching attention,” Lim concluded.

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