First of two parts
ESTIMATES of the likely economic windfall to come from the Philippines’ hosting the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games may prove to be over-optimistic, a number of research studies and the recent experience of neighboring countries in hosting similar events suggest.
In the run-up to the Games’ opening on November 30, a number of government officials and private analysts have assured the public that the Philippines will experience an economic boost that may last well beyond the closing ceremonies on December 11.
“The SEA Games are expected to benefit the Philippine economy in terms of increased foreign tourism arrivals, especially the citizens from other Asean countries who will participate and watch the various sporting events,” RCBC Economics and Industry Research Division Head Michael Ricafort said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“Some of the athletes, other people in the SEA Games delegation and other foreign visitors watching/covering the various sporting events would also spend in the country during and after the events through accommodations, food and beverage, shopping and retail transactions and side visits to other tourist destinations around the country,” he added.
Ricafort said the SEA Games would also serve as an avenue to promote the Philippines as a good investment destination.
“The SEA Games will also benefit the Philippines in terms of the regional as well as global coverage of the events that would further promote and showcase the country’s various offerings in terms of business opportunities in foreign tourism, other sporting events, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and investments,” he added.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) is confident the country will experience a surge of visitors during the SEA Games.
About 12,000 delegates, including technical officials and press attendees, are expected to attend the mega sporting event, the DoT-Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy (OPAA) said. Although there is no official figure on how many domestic and foreign tourists may travel to witness the SEA Games, “these numbers are expected to increase when we account for the family members and friends supporting the athletes,” the OPAA told The Manila Times.
Apart from the amusingly controversial P55-million “kaldero” in New Clark City that will carry the SEA Games flame during the Games, more than P7 billion has been budgeted by the government to fund the necessary infrastructure and support for the region’s athletic showcase.
To be continued
WITH REPORTS FROM LISBET K. ESMAEL AND ANNA LEAH E. GONZALES