Manila, April 10, 2017 - According to a new report from Colliers International, tourist arrivals to the Asia Pacific region were forecast to grow by 9% in 2016, continuing a steady period of growth witnessed since 2010. Tokyo’s exponential growth in visitor arrivals since 2015 has been attributed to low-cost flights and easing of visa restrictions. Thailand is experiencing significant increase in arrivals since the relaxing of visa rules and the increase in low cost carriers and destinations served since 2012. Initially, growth of China’s hotel market was concentrated in the major mega-city locations such as Beijing and Shanghai but growth has now spread to key secondary cities including Shenzhen and Chengdu. READ FULL REPORT

Colliers International Philippines sees at least 6.6 million foreign tourists visiting the Philippines this year. The figure is 10% higher from 5.97 million recorded in 2016. Colliers International Philippines’ forecast is lower than the government’s projection of 17% growth or 7 million foreign visitors for 2017.

The growth of the Philippine tourism sector will be sustained by the influx of visitors from the country’s traditional markets such as South Korea, USA, Japan, and China. The four economies account for nearly 60% of annual tourist arrivals in the country. Warming relations between the Chinese and Philippine governments should result in more Chinese tourists. Late last year, the Philippine and Chinese governments signed an agreement on tourism cooperation that includes exploring a possible increase in capacity entitlements in air services and encouraging airlines to open new flights between Philippine cities in the Visayas and Mindanao regions and Chinese cities. This agreement is expected to bear fruit in the next six to twelve months.

The sector should also benefit from the spillover impact of the successful hosting of major international events in the past two years such as APEC Summit, ASEAN Tourism Forum, Routes Asia, and Miss Universe. The successful staging of these events only affirm the Philippines’ viability as a key meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destination in the region.

With robust international arrivals and sustained rise in visitor receipts (PHP230 billion last year from PHP227.6 billion in 2015), hotel occupancy in Metro Manila increased by two-percentage points from 69% in 1H 2016 to 71% by end-2016.

“Outlook for Philippine tourism remains bullish and this encourages hotel developers to ramp up construction of accommodation facilities throughout the country,” said Chris Wells, Colliers International Philippines’ consultant for hotels and leisure services.

Colliers expects the addition of more than 4,000 rooms to Metro Manila’s hotel room stock this year. “Despite the projected completion of a significant number of new hotel rooms, Colliers sees occupancy rates in Metro Manila hovering between 65% and 70% over the next 12 months,” Wells added.

Developers are also cashing in on the popularity of two to four star hotels among Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese tourists. Double Dragon plans to build five more Jinjiang hotels this year. Ayala will open its 250-room Seda hotel in Circuit Makati and the 440-room Seda hotel in Vertis North, Quezon City this year. Meanwhile, Megaworld is banking on the popularity of resort destinations in the Visayas with the planned opening of Marriott Courtyard Hotel at the Iloilo Business Park and the Savoy Hotel Boracay at Boracay Newcoast by 1H 2017.

Infrastructure to boost Philippine tourism

A report released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) noted that the tourism industry’s direct contribution to the Philippine economy reached 8.2% in 2016. The industry’s contribution could’ve been higher if not for infrastructure backlogs that continue to stifle tourism’s growth.

Among the steps the government has undertaken in addressing infrastructure bottlenecks is the bidding out of major tourism-related infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) program.

The first infrastructure package to be bid out under the Duterte administration involves the development and maintenance of regional airports in Bacolod, Davao, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Bohol. The government is also working on a comprehensive international airport development plan that covers the expansion and privatization of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA); development of another international airport in Bulacan or Sangley Point, Cavite; and expansion of Clark airport.

Colliers International Philippines believes that bridging the country’s infrastructure gaps should enable the government to meet or even surpass its visitor arrival target and entice more foreign and local businessmen to invest in the country’s travel and tourism sector.

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