More private sector investments seen needed in hotels to sustain Philippine tourism growth

THE private sector needs to invest more in hotel accommodations to support the growth of the country’s tourism industry, according to real estate brokerage company Leechiu Property Consultants, Inc. (LPC).

“To sustain the growth in the Philippine tourism industry, there’s a pressing need for greater private sector investment in additional hotel accommodations. Initiating these investments within the next year is critical to fortify international tourism beyond 2027,” the company said in a statement over the weekend.

According to LPC, about 15,000 new hotel rooms are expected to be delivered within the next five years, primarily located in Metro Manila.

It added that more hotel projects are likely to be announced in the coming months or years in line with the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) target of 12 million international arrivals by 2028.

DoT figures showed that the country logged 4.005 million international arrivals as of Sept. 29, nearing its full-year 2023 target of 4.8 million foreign visitors.

Of the total international arrivals, 91.58% or 3.67 million were foreign visitors while the remaining 8.42% or 337,426 were overseas Filipinos.

Meanwhile, LPC projected that Panglao Island in Bohol could surpass Boracay Island as the country’s premier tourism destination.

“In 2019, Panglao reached an impressive 1,581,904 visitors, coming close to Boracay’s 2,034,599 arrivals during the same period. Given these promising figures, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Panglao Island could surpass Boracay Island as the Philippines’ premier tourism destination,” LPC said.

Alfred Lay, Leechiu director for hotel, tourism, and leisure, said one advantage that Panglao has over Boracay is its larger size and capacity limits.

He added that ongoing developments in Panglao could increase land values in the area. Some of these are the proposed 50-hectare Panglao Shores project, the upcoming JW Marriott Hotel, the Cebu-Bohol bridge, and large-scale energy initiatives aimed at meeting Bohol’s surging energy requirements.

“These developments have had a significant impact on land values, with Alona Beachfront properties now priced at approximately P80,000 to P120,000 per square meter, approaching the land values in Boracay’s white beach area,” Mr. Lay said.

LPC projected that tourist arrivals, flight capacity, and hotel occupancy rates across the global tourism industry could return to pre-pandemic levels by next year.

“Industry stakeholders should look out for certain trends that can greatly impact the Philippines in the coming year, including the relaxation of visa restrictions, persistent high airfares driven by escalating aviation fuel costs, ongoing inflation, a high-interest rate environment that may leave consumers with diminished purchasing power, and the return of business travel and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) events,” LPC said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Neil Banzuelo

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