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March 30, 2012

Philippine Arena March 2012 UPDATE

Ciudad de Victoria and the Phil. Arena

TWO/ECO Tourism Development Consultants has secured for New San Jose Builders, Inc. (NSJBI) the designation of Ciudad de Victoria, as a 58 hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bulacan province.

It is anchored by New Era University's (NEU) Philippine Arena, the largest fully enclosed dome in the world, with a seating capacity of 50,000 persons. In Ciudad de Victoria, NEU will also construct (a) EGM Medical Center, targeting the medical tourism market, (b) the NEU Sports Complex, giving the Philippines a world-class facility for international competitions, and (c) a new university campus, with specific focus on educational tourism, symposia, and training.

NSJBI will be responsible for the overall development of the zone, from the infrastructure to the provision of facilities for accommodations, and a retail area for the exposition of Bulacan's products in pastries, fireworks, jewelry, horticulture, furniture, among others.

Ciudad de Victoria thus creates a unique tourism experience, at the intersection of leisure, business, education and well-being, where people can travel not only to be entertained, but to learn, believe and succeed.

Ciudad de Victoria, through the Philippine Arena and the NEU Sports Complex, thus provides large venues for events - particularly for competitions, concerts, and conventions - but when coupled with the medical center and university, it creates unique tourism markets that emphasize both intellectual and physical well-being.

Considering its location on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) between the existing hubs of Metro Manila (45km from Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and Clark Special Economic Zone (65 kms from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport), Ciudad de Victoria is thus highly accessible both to domestic and international tourism, having direct access to NLEX and being roughly an hour to the international airports of Manila and Clark. The projected North Rail and Metro Rail 7 developments are likely to make Ciudad de Victoria even more accessible.

Ciudad de Victoria will be developed by New San Jose Builders, Inc., a real estate company with a robust portfolio of service and recreational facilities, transport infrastructure, sustainable townships and prime residential condominiums. NSJBI, however, has not only recently entered the tourism industry but has made a significant impact with its own venture, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (see also our previous post, here). Las Casas is a heritage themed resort along the West Philippine Sea, in the province of Bataan, where guests are accommodated in reconstructed and restored Philippine Spanish colonial period houses.

The Philippine Arena was designed by consulting firms internationally recognized for the architecture and design of large public facilities, Populous and Buro Happold, and will be built by Hanwha construction of Korea.

More information to follow.

source: twoecoinc.com

Industry report: Tourism incentives body approves first two ecozones

IT'S BEEN three years since the passage of the Tourism Act of 2009 that grants incentives to tourism investors under a new super-body called the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA). What has been accomplished so far?

The TIEZA has designated only this year the first two tourism economic zones under Republic Act (RA) No. 9593, which seeks to attract “economically viable, sustainable, and socially responsible enterprises.”

“The revised implementing rules and regulations of RA 9593 were approved only in August 2011. Now under the new mandate, we already designated two tourism economic zones (TEZs) last February,” TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark T. Lapid told BusinessWorld in an interview.

The Tourism Act of 2009 placed the functions of the Philippine Tourism Authority, which had administered government-owned tourist facilities, under TIEZA. The new agency, attached to the Department of Tourism, is tasked to designate, regulate, and supervise TEZs established under the act.

Under the tourism act, corporations, local government units and government agencies may apply to have an area designated as a TEZ. “Tourism investments should be a minimum of $5 million and five hectares, and should be [implemented] in five years,” Mr. Lapid said.

The first two TEZs are “Ciudad de Victoria” in Bulacan and a second entertainment and casino complex in front of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, he said.

Ciudad de Victoria, to rise in Bocaue, Bulacan, will be a P25-billion investment. It will be undertaken by entities of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The zone’s 58-hectare territory will enclose the New Era University’s (NEU) “Philippine arena,” the EGM Medical Center, the NEU sports complex, and a new university campus. The Philippine Arena is being eyed to become the largest closed dome in the world, with a 50,000 seating capacity.

The contractor will develop infrastructure, facilities for accommodations, and a retail area where products of the local community, such as pastries, fireworks, jewelry, horticulture and furniture, will be sold.

For the other newly approved TEZ, Mr. Lapid said investors will put up another hotel and casino complex in front of NAIA Terminal 3. The investment will be at least $5 billion.

“The two TEZs are [projected to generate] close to a hundred thousand jobs, from the construction to operations,” he added.

The TIEZA follows the same concept behind the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), which grants special benefits and incentives to investors in economic zones, Mr. Lapid said.

“RA 9593 has automatically [allowed] the coordination of the national and local government offices where the necessary permits and licenses are processed. We have created a ‘one-stop shop’ for investors, which makes [processing] easier,” he explained.

Mark Richard D. Evidente, a consultant specializing in tourism development and the principal drafter of the Tourism Act 2009, concurred. “For a businessman’s point of view, start-up costs -- the costs of going from office to office -- are always high. With the implementation of the act, it does become easier.”

The law aims to “provide full government assistance by way of competitive investment incentives and long-term development fund and other financing schemes.”

Enterprises within TEZs can obtain fiscal incentives like a six-year income tax holiday; duty-free importation of capital equipment and goods consumed in the course of services rendered; and tax credits on all locally sourced goods and services.

Non-fiscal incentives include employment of foreign nationals in executive, supervisory, technical or advisory positions; special investor resident visas for foreigners who will be hired by locators; and privileges in connection with foreign currency transactions.

Some incentives are also available to tourism enterprises outside TEZs.

Investors will also have access to expert advice. Mr. Lapid said the TIEZA has entered into an agreement with the University of the Philippines’ Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT).

AIT Dean Miguela M. Mena said in an interview: “We are assisting in establishing TEZs. We are involved in the assessment of proposals, providing necessary training and education, technology transfer, and the like.”

Sustainable tourism

Tourism ventures are encouraged to practice sustainable tourism and social responsibility. As regulator, TIEZA is supposed to ensure the well-being of people in the areas surrounding TEZs.

Mr. Lapid said his office is tasked to evaluate investors’ proposals or “business master plan” as part of the approval process.

TEZs are classified according to the nature of the business, which will determine the incentives they will get. TEZs can be cultural heritage, health and wellness, eco-tourism, general leisure and mixed-used zones.

Under RA 9593, investors are granted a social responsibility incentive or tax deduction for the cost of environmental protection or cultural heritage preservation activities, sustainable livelihood programs for local communities, and similar activities.

“[Part of the responsibility of] the investor is to [make sure that] when they come into a particular area, they have the least amount of community impact,” said Mr. Evidente, citing for example, the effect of a beach resort on the livelihood of fishermen. “If there is significant impact, [it has to find] ways in which it can bridge the community from one activity to another. In this case, the investor could employ the fishermen as part-time tour guides to accompany the divers, take tourists on island-hoping, or expose tourists to deep-sea fishing,” he added.

Incentives are important to allow investors to make better decisions and proposals. “Erratic, unplanned ventures create the different social and/or environmental problems,” Mr. Evidente said. “TIEZA creates that window where investors can come in and at the same time push for sustainable tourism,” he added.

The TIEZA is so far getting favorable reviews.

“In terms of government efforts, it’s very active right now in trying to make the tourism environment investment-friendly, by trying to lessen the problems or obstacles of private investors specifically in government procedures,” Ms. Mena said.

Mr. Evidente agreed, saying: “TIEZA only has a mandate of 10 years, so it’s really designed to act fast and build up investments in the tourism sector, rapidly.”

Two TEZs were approved in six months, although there are several pending applications, he noted. Under PEZA, 12 TEZs and two medical tourism zones were established up to June 2011, since the agency started accepting applications in 2000.

Having an investment promotion agency dedicated to tourism was a great development for the industry, Mr. Evidente said. TIEZA was able “to highlight that incentives are not simply given to jumpstart the tourism industry.”

“[It is] subsidizing investors’ costs arising from environmental protection, community development, and cultural heritage reservation, which are public goods necessary for sustainable tourism. That vision of having sustainable tourism is what’s attracting new investments,” he said.

source: bworldonline.com

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