THE PROVINCIAL governments of Iloilo and Guimaras target to increase their tourism receipts to P25.18 billion by 2012 from an estimated P18.24 billion in 2010, following a push to make the two provinces the country?s next investment and tourism hubs.
Narzalina Z. Lim, president of tourism consultancy firm Asia Pacific Projects Inc., said that should the planned development programs for the two provinces push through, tourist arrivals were seen hitting 718,000 by 2012, up from the estimated 595,000 in 2010.
Last year, tourist arrivals in Iloilo stood at 396,134 with receipts of P7.3 billion, while Guimaras tourist arrivals stood at 39,391 with receipts of P724 million, Lim said in her presentation at the Iloilo-Guimaras Investment Forum.
To achieve the targets, the local governments of Iloilo and Guimaras are undertaking a massive ?sustainable development? program for the two provinces, through a partnership between the government and private sector.
These projects included the development of the so-called priority tourism circuits in Metro Iloilo and Guimaras; diversification of urban tourism products; and pilot community-based tourism and livelihood programs.
The central business district of Iloilo is likewise being revitalized through the redevelopment of key areas.
With these in the pipeline, Iloilo and Guimaras now offer more and varied investment opportunities for interested firms, such as those in real estate and construction, beach resort and resort community development projects, tourist transport, local tour operations, aqua sports equipment rentals, adventure tours and spa and wellness clinics.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. TreŮas has also urged companies to look into these opportunities, adding that Iloilo was the next big thing for investments.
?Our strategic location, natural beauty, rich and unique island culture are assets in itself. Iloilo is in the center of the Philippines, accessible by air, land and sea transport networks,? he said.