(9th November, London) - An exotic, tropical island nation in Southeast Asia blessed with a skilled, English-speaking population and an abundance of natural beauty, history and an abiding sense of hospitality, the Philippines is a genuine magnet for tourism investment.

Today, with a fresh Government keener than ever to raise the Philippines’ profile among discerning world travellers, recognition of the country as a vital tourism investment hotspot is certainly within reach. And help is at hand, in the form of generous tax incentives and a more responsive regulatory system designed to attract investors from across Britain and Europe.

These were the messages conveyed today to a select group of UK and European-based hotel and resort owners, operators, management companies, institutional investors and investment advisers attending the very first Philippine Tourism Investment Forum in London.

The forum, hosted by Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) LLP at its offices in the City - with a vintage Routemaster bus bearing the Philippine brand as a backdrop - coincided with the 31st World Travel Mart, the world’s largest tourism and travel trade fair held at London Excel. Jointly organised by the

Philippine Department of Tourism, the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) in London and hotel consultancy Hotel in a Box, the event provided an

opportunity to showcase the favourable investment climate and opportunities offered by the Philippines’ burgeoning tourism industry.

The forum’s theme was Promoting Investments in Philippine Tourism and Resort Developments. A high-level Philippine delegation comprising the largest and most prestigious hotel and resort companies and property developers in the country -- including Amanresorts, Ayala Hotels, Boulevard Holdings, Elizalde Land, Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa, Fairmont Raffles Hotels, ShangriLa Group, and Travellers International Hotel Group -- elaborated on the message by taking part in discussions on the advantages of investment in Philippine urban mixed used and integrated and destination resort developments. They were joined at the forum by representatives of

international travel and investment leaders including IMG, Royal Bank of Scotland, Club Med, Orient Express, and Six Senses resorts, among many others.

Hon Alberto Lim, Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary, in his keynote address, set forth the many benefits and advantages that make the Philippines one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world.

These include a responsive new administration that welcomes and encourages tourism investments; a resilient economy that has enjoyed 41 successive quarters of GDP growth; a new civil aviation policy regime that will lead to greater air access; a coherent expenditure program to upgrade transportation systems and infrastructure; an abundance of skilled managerial talent and technical manpower; rich natural and cultural endowments and attractions, English as the medium of communication, and, not least, the country’s location in the fastest growing region in the world.

Secretary Lim further underscored the importance of tourism to the Philippine economy by highlighting the country’s new landmark Tourism Act. Introduced in 2009, the new legislation creates a fiscally empowered Philippine Tourism

Promotions Board as well as a Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (or TIEZA) to generate new investment in the tourism sector by granting fiscal and other incentives.

Among the key value propositions to tourism investors offered by TIEZA are duty free importation of capital equipment, a six year income tax holiday extendable by up to another six years for substantial expansions or upgrades, and a special social responsibility tax credit.

Secretary Lim said, ‘This year, the Department has already endorsed tourism development projects that will result in 2,000 additional rooms, generate investments amounting to 350 Million US Dollars, and create jobs for 3,300 Filipinos. And we see bigger developments looming in the horizon, with

industry giants like Fairmont Raffles, Hyatt, Ascott and Shangri-la committed to developing new properties in the Philippines within the next three to five years.’

Other speakers at the forum included former UK Ambassador to the Philippines Paul Dimond, who shared his personal insights and experience of doing business in the country, PTIC-London Commercial Attaché and Director Michael Alfred V. Ignacio, who presented a business and investment environment introduction on the Philippines. Fairmont Raffles Director Global Sales-Europe, Susannah Donne, provided a case study on Raffles Makati, and HSBC Director and Head of London Infrastructure Team-Project Finance Trevor Sturmy, described the Philippines’ banking environment. Katrina Panlilio-Craig,

Managing Director of Hotel in a Box and one of the key organizers of the event, spoke on Philippine market trends.

A panel discussion on Urban Hospitality Developments was moderated by Andrew Sangster of Hotel Analyst, with Ayala Hotels Chief Operating Officer Michael Alexis Legaspi, Travellers International Hotel Group President Kingson Sian and Executive Vice President Steve Reilly sitting as panel members.

Another panel on Integrated and Destination Resort Developments was moderated by Ian Graham of Hotel Solutions Partnership, with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Vice President Austin Frost, Elizalde Land Vice President Federico Joaquin Elizalde and TA Advisory Services Director Mila Abad as panellists.

Philippine Chargé d’ Affaires Reynaldo Catapang concluded the forum by noting the UK government’s recent focus on strengthening relations with emerging economies in Asia such as the Philippines.

Reynaldo Catapang said, ‘We very much welcome the plans of the UK government to promote opportunities in our part of the world and we are pleased that UK Trade & Industry has recognized the Philippines as one of the top ten economies for global investment.’

After the forum, guests took part in one-to-one business matching meetings between Philippine developers and potential UK investors.

For more information, contact: Michael Ignacio Philippine Trade and Investment Centre-London Rosario Afuang Philippine Department of Tourism-London Emmanuel Guzman Philippine Embassy in London

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful