PH tourism can flourish within Asean, says exec

THE PHILIPPINES is in a good position to cash in on the single Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) economy if it is able to maximize its potentials particularly in tourism, a top government official in Mindanao said.

In her presentation during the Mindanao Business Conference in Surigao City last week, Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority, pointed out that the country has a long coastline, second only to Indonesia in the Asean region, which it can develop into several tourism destinations.

Lopoz

LOPOZ

The key, said Lopoz during the Mindanao Business Conference, is for the government to continue investing more in infrastructure facilities to ensure that these destinations are highlighted.

“We are confident that as we construct more airports and as our businesses build more facilities, we will prove to the world that indeed, it is more fun in the Philippines,” she added, pointing out that the country has about 36,000 kilometers in coastlines.

Also, because the country is within Asean, its growth is set to be sustained because, based on the report of international consultancy company Ernest and Young, the region will be the source of the two-thirds of the middle class, the engine of growth.

To capitalize on this, the country must be able to invest heavily on education.

The country must also be able to open up to investments by welcoming capital formation. “Education without opportunities will result in the same challenges that the Philippines faces today where many of our people leave the country to work elsewhere,” Lopoz added.

Fund managers claimed that the country has attracted not just local investors but even foreign companies since the start of the new administration.

“We are very positive for the next six years…the long-term (investment climate) is bright based on the platform of President (Rodrigo Duterte),” said April Lynne L. Tan, head of research at COL Financial Group Inc. whose company was in the city last week to conduct an investment roadshow.

Another thing that works for the government is that its drive to make growth inclusive as she expected that economic growth will trickle down to the ordinary people as this will drive developments outside the center of government in Manila.

“In the past, the development had always been focused on Metro Manila, “ said Tan, pointing out that it is the Duterte administration which has, even this year, shown that it can heavily invest in the provincial areas outside of the usual growth areas.

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