The Tourism Department said Wednesday it expects tourism revenues to reach $6.5 billion from the arrivals of 6 million foreign visitors in 2016.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said to achieve the goal, the government would focus on building the necessary infrastructure for tourism development, especially in emerging island destinations.
“We have been closely coordinating with the relevant agencies to make sure that we are moving forward with the construction of access roads, bridges, lightings, drainage systems and even signages,” he told reporters in an interview during the opening of the two-day Hospitality Investment Conference at Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.
He said the Tourism Department would receive a P24-billion budget this year to support tourism infrastructure development. “We are entirely dependent on air traffic to bring in visitors. We hope we’ll have more and better accommodation inventory to house a projected traffic of 6 million tourists,” he said.
The Board of Investments said hotel investments reached P8.25 billion in 2015, down by 46 percent from P14.9 billion in 2014, despite the increase in the number of projects. BoI approved 11 hotel projects last year, up from only 6 projects in 2015.
Among the largest investors last year were Century Peak Property Development Inc. with P3.3 billion and Philippine Hoteliers International Center for Hospitality with P1 billion. Other projects were Aira Bianca Lao Vicente with P40.778 million; Belian Inns and Hotels Inc., P40 million; Data land Inc., P865 million; Enrison Land Inc., P900 million; Eskaya Beach Resort Corp., P200.2 million; Gohotels Davao Inc., P338.76 million; Premier Central Inc. P527 million; Sentera Hotel Ventures Inc., P494.5 million; and Serenity View Resort Property Inc., P235.22 million.
Meanwhile, Melia Hotels International S. A., a Spanish hotel company, said it planned to bring three of its famous brands to the Philippines, including the Melia, Innside Melia and Sol Melia.
Melia Hotels vice president for Asia Pacific Gonzalo Maceda said the company expected to finalize management agreements with local partners for several projects in Metro Manila and several provinces this year.
“After expanding in the Asian market especially in China, Japan and Indonesia, we have entered the Myanmar and Thai market. We think the next big step for us is to have presence in the Philippines,” Maceda said in an interview during the Hospitality Investment Conference.
He said the company already had several projects lined up for the year, including in Makati City and Palawan.
Movenpick Hotels and Resorts and Plateno Hotels said they were also on an expansion mode in the Philippines.
Movenpick senior vice president for Asia Andrew Langdon said the Philippines was now a priority market for the company after a record performance in 2015, with plans to triple the hotels it manages by 2020.
“We are looking at a very strong year this 2016. We have our eyes set on Davao, Palawan and Dumaguete, as well. We still have potential rebranding and/or renovation agreements,” he said.
The hotel chain will open Movenpick Boracay Resort by the middle of the year.