Philippine tourism—now driven by international recognition of its heritage sites, must-see destinations and relatively lower cost of living and traveling—could see a boom if local infrastructure could handle the traffic of activity, a real estate consultancy firm said.
KMC Mag Group said in a report infrastructure such as airports and seaports are key to the prosperity of the local tourism industry.
Given a number of new real estate developments in the hospitality and leisure industry, and with the Philippines hosting various major international events this year such as the visit early this year of Pope Francis and the APEC Summit set for November, local tourism has substantial room to grow.
“The emerging luxury developments in the country and the influx of international hotel and resort brands are attracting the more affluent tourists to visit the islands. However, PH [the Philippines]has yet to be ready to meet the demand and accommodate the traffic with good-quality infrastructure and by decongesting its airports and seaports,” KMC Mag Group said in the report.
The problem is connectivity from point to point, from the airport to one destination and the next, within the country, and government efforts to tackle the challenge include establishing 20 strategic clusters (seven in the northern part of the country, six in the central island and seven in the south). The program focuses on rehabilitating and creating accessible roads, implementing local tourism projects, and catering to niche markets around the world.
Tourists to the Philippines normally visit the country’s sun and beach holiday destinations such as those in Palawan and Boracay; cruise and nautical tourism that offer diving and marine sports activities; leisure and entertainment spots such as casinos and the growing Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) destinations that cater to the business process outsourcing (BPO) and KPO industry .
The KMC Mag Group noted that a growing number of foreign investors and major real estate developers in the country are “looking into building a diverse portfolio catering to the luxury and budget segment, as well as the under-served mid segment of the market.”
In addition, Philippine tourism can also benefit from accommodating game enthusiasts and other tourists from overseas who are looking for an alternative gaming and entertainment destination, especially with new casinos in the country such as the Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.’s City of Dreams and Bloomberry Resorts Corp.’s Solaire Resort and Casino in Pasay city.
According to a forecast by Deutsche Bank, a spillover from other casinos such as those in Macau following the decline in their revenues can lead up to a 33 percent gain for the Philippines.
KMC Mag Group also noted that the joint tourism drive between the Philippines and Singapore can further boost the local tourism industry.
“Tourists who fly to Singapore can do their shopping and exploring in a couple of days and can be shuttled off to PH’s southern islands for exploration, after which, they can then go back to Singapore for their return flights. It’s a win-win for both, as Singapore expects to grow its business by 20 percent while PH gets its fair share of visiting tourists to Mindanao’s top destinations,” said KMC Mag Group.
The real estate consultancy firm added, “the emerging luxury developments in the country and the influx of international hotel and resort brands are attracting the more affluent tourists to visit the islands.”
Medical tourism in the country is another attraction being promoted abroad, given the local facilities such as St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Saint Francis Cabrini Medical Tourism Park.
Some tourism developments in Manila are centered on the main business districts, including the entry and expansion of international branded hotels such as Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, Marriott Hotel Manila II, and Shangri-La at the Fort.
“To further improve and establish connectivity, ongoing and upcoming projects not only focus on improving accommodation and transportation facilities but also on developing healthcare and wellness centers, as well as enterprise zones and tourism estates,” KMC Mag Group said.