Visayas property prospects still strong

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The real estate and tourism prospects for the Visayas remain strong even if the region severely suffered from the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda that severely ravaged the region three weeks ago.

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Bill Barnett, managing director of international hospitality consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, said in an interview with The Manila Times that out of the many tourism spots in the country, Visayas has the most potential tourism destinations like Cebu and Bohol.

Thus, Visayas, among other regions, is “a perfect place” for expansion for real estate developers, Barnett indicated.

According to him, this is despite the occurrence of the calamities in the region such as the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Bohol in late October, as well as Yolanda.

“One thing we know is that the reaction time for these kind of occurrence [calamities]is getting much quicker. The response is getting much quicker. In what’s happening in the world, the impact is there although the response is getting much quicker now,” Barnett said.

He said that it usually takes three to six months to recover from a calamity and since Visayas is an important destination, the recovery period might be fast-tracked.

Specifically, Barnett said the Visayas is the first among other regions in the country that can potentially tap the growing cruise industry.

“[Philippines] need to develop more iconic destination. We think what will grow here is the cruise industry. In the Philippines, you have deep water ports. Visayas, in particular, has deep water ports,” he noted.

New market to tap
Overall, Barnett said the tourism sentiment for the Philippines is positive with a lot of other markets to tap.

“Eastern Europe is a big market. We should be able to tap them,” he said, specifying that Philippines is “not inferior to Thailand and Indonesia” when it comes to infrastructure and has the ability to invite tourists from other major markets in the world.

“Infrastructure is lagging everywhere, the key is airlift,” he further said.

For instance, he mentioned that airlift is now becoming a major priority in the Philippine tourism outlook, citing the future upgrade of the Puerto Princesa International Airport in Palawan.

“Palawan has great potential. Airlift is the most important thing and the upgrading of the Palawan airport to an international airport is a good thing. Palawan could be a good driver for tourism demand,” Barnett said.

In the first eight months of 2013, the Philippines welcomed over three million foreign visitors with Korean, American and Japanese visitors being lead contributors.

Barnett is the founder and managing director of C9 Hotelworks, a leading consulting firm specializing in hotels, tourism and property development in Asia Pacific.

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