Naga has accelerated hotel investments to meet the demands of the growing tourist arrivals in Bicol’s premier city.
Naga City Mayor John Bongat said Naga has seen a substantial increase in terms of the number of accommodation establishments between 2000 and 2012 and there are hotels that are under construction this year.
“Sogo hotel has just completed, Eurotel is currently undergoing construction and another hotel is coming,” he said at the sidelines of the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC) press conference held recently.
He said there were huge investments in the said hotel and that investors are upbeat with the tourism prospects in Naga.
Bongat said currently, there are 1,609 rooms in 56 hotel and inns operating in Naga compared to just 22 establishments in 2000 with only 551 rooms.
”What is notable is the fact that in a period of just two years, the number of accommodation establishments in Naga increased by 64 percent, compared to 55 percent over a period of 10 years from 2000 to 2010. The number of available rooms in Naga has almost tripled since 2000,” he said.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said room capacity is hardly enough with only 162,704 rooms in 6,873 establishments nationwide as of last year.
Starting this year up to 2015, DOT expects an additional 7,000 rooms, yet still fell short of the 183,134 demand for rooms by 2016.
Tourism undersecretary Daniel Corpuz said the room demand for Bicol in 2016, is 15,804, while available rooms were 8,549. There are 130 hotels which are in the pipeline, yet still there room gap is at 7,125.
DOT said there were P3.36 billion or approximately US9 million worth of endorsed tourism related investments in 2012, that brought in 1,356 additional manpower complement.
New facilities to enjoy include the Fairmont Hotel and Raffles Suites with 549 rooms. The Quest Hotels & Conference Center in Cebu has 427 rooms, Calyx Center in Cebu has 221 rooms; Bellevue Resort in Bohol has 159; Tunes Hotel Cebu 150; Luxent Hotel Quezon City, 116; Dohera Hotel- Cebu 100, and Microtel Acropolis in Quezon City, 84; and Solaire Manila has 500 rooms.
Narzalina Lim, President of Asia Pacific Projects Inc. (APPI) said in order to become competitive Philippines must invest in integrated resort destinations.
Based on the 2011 Southeast Asia data in accommodation Bali, Indonesia has a total of 1,825 hotel and resorts with a total of 46,363 rooms.
Phuket, Thailand has 743 tourism establishments, yet bigger in terms of rooms which totaled to 47,333.
Another famous tourist destination, Langkawi in Malaysia has 95 establishments which have 8,400 rooms while PhuQuoc Island, Vietnam had 75 with 2,000 rooms.
In the Philippines, Boracay had the biggest number of accommodation establishments with 358 and 7,751 available rooms.
Mactan has 46 hotels/ resorts with 3,988 rooms, Pampanga has 166 hotels and 7,242 rooms, Zambales, 142 hotels and 4,101 rooms while Bataan has 71 and 1,402, establishments and rooms respectively.
“If you were to add the resort and hotel rooms in our famous Boracay, Mactan, Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan, we have only 24,488 total rooms. Too low compared to Bali alone with 46,363 rooms,” she said.
Now on its 4th Year, the Bishop Francisco Gainza Trade Fair (BFGTF) takes a new turn when it features marine products from all over theregion in what organizers call the 1st Bicol Aqua Fair in addition to the regular showcases in the event.
The Caceres Social Action Foundation, Inc. (CASAFI), the social action arm of the Archdiocese of Caceres which spearheads the yearly affair coinciding with the Peñafrancia festivities, has partnered with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to bring a new element to the trade fair.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and TV station ABS-CBN have been partners of the CASAFI since the inception of the BFGTF in September 2010 during the Tercenary Celebration of our devotion to the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, according to Rev. Fr. Jeffrey John B. Briones, BFGTF chair.
The trade fair will be held at a venue maintained by the BGTF just a few meters away from the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. Its strategic location gives thousandsof devotees of Ina (term of endearment for the beloved regional patroness)m a chance to pick from a wide array of marine products from various provinces in Bicol. along with handicrafts, souvenirs, furniture, food products and agricultural produce.
“We shall hold the activity at the same venue, near the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the busiest streets every September on Naga City. And since we want our clients to keep coming back, the tent will be air-conditioned, assuring the comfort of both buyers and exhibitors”, Fr. Marc Real, BFGTF Project Director said.
“Exciting events to watch nightly are being lined up courtesy of ABS-CBN, BFAR and the major sponsor, Globe Telecom”, Fr. Real added. Entrepreneurial trainings also form part of the fair with focus on engaging in the fishery industry.
This year’s fair will start on September 12, a day before the Traslacion and will culminate on the 22nd, Our Lady of Peñafrancia Feast Day. It covers two weekends when most people have time for shopping and leisure.
The Bishop Francisco Gainza Trade Fair is organized the Archdiocese of Caceres through the CASAFI. It traces its roots to Bishop Francisco Gainza who pioneered the First Agro-Industrial Fair in Bicol in 1875.
The fair is geared towards alleviating poverty through entrepreneurship and solidarity that promotes integral development.
The BFGTF organizers can be reaced at 473-9550 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/bishopgainza_tradefair and twitter.com/GainzaTradeFair.
By Paul John F. Barrosa
MAKATI CITY — Metro Naga, an alliance of 16 local government units with Naga City at its core, was hailed by the Department of Science and Technology and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) as one of the Top Ten Next Wave Cities for 2012-2013.
The announcement, attended by Naga City Vice Mayor Gabriel H. Bordado, Jr., who represented Mayor John Bongat, City Planning Officer Wilfredo Prilles, and this writer, was made at the Dusit Thani Hotel, this city, last May 20.
“Metro Naga officially joins the ranks of Davao, Iloilo, and Laguna as top IT and business process centers of the Philippines. It is also fortunate that this award comes at this very opportune time that IBM is formally launching its first BPO branch outside of Metro Manila in Naga,” said Vice Mayor Bordado.
The event coincided with the official launching of IBM at the Avenue Square, Naga City. IBM, the 2nd Most Valuable Brand in the World, has chosen Naga as its first expansion site for its BPO business outside of Metro Manila.
“These milestones are manifestations that we in the City Government of Naga, through the Naga City Investment Board, have been successful in our efforts to put in place the necessary infrastructure, policies, and programs to make the city a preferred destination for IT-BPM firms. We are committed, however, to further improve our competitiveness in order to attract more locators, especially in the areas of IT-enabled industries,” expressed Naga City Mayor John Bongat.
IBM’s business process outsourcing (BPO)-arm, IBM-Global Process Services, will start its operations this year initially employing a projected 500 workers. By 2015, it is expected to generate around 5,000 employment opportunities spurring economic development in the city and in the whole Bicol Region, in general.
“By locating our global operations in emerging growth cities such as Naga City, IBM is able to bring world-class career opportunities closer to more Filipinos and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the continuously thriving BPO industry,” announced IBM-GPS Delivery Country Leader Cassandra Soto.
Next Wave Cities is a recognition being given to local government units that topped the DOST-IBPAP Scorecard, an index which evaluates a location’s suitability and viability as information technology-business process management hub based on four competitiveness factors – 1) talent pool, 2) infrastructure, 3) cost competitiveness, and 4) business environment and risk management. Aside from the prestige, the 10 sites are also being given priority marketing to investors.
There are also four cities which were dubbed by DOST-IBPAP as emerging locations or possible Next Wave Cities in the future. They are Batangas City, Cagayan de Oro City, Dagupan City, and Tagbilaran City.