Ayala Land eyeing tourism estates in Visayas

With government anticipating a swell in tourism, Ayala Land is hoping to anticipate the wave and be there to catch it with new developments

MANILA, Philippines – With the government eyeing more tourist arrivals, developer Ayala Land Inc (ALI) is heightening its focus on meeting the potential new demand.

The Ayala’s real estate arm is looking at opportunities to create new tourism developments in the Visayas region and hopes to shore up a landbank in the region within the next 2 to 3 years, explained ALI president Antonino Aquino at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit on Wednesday, November 14.

Following its long history of creating not just buildings but buildings within comprehensive centers, Ayala Land is looking at making more mixed-use developments or what it calls “tourism estates.”

“It’s a combination. You talk about tourism estate it’s going to be a combination of hotels, retail and maybe some residential (developments),” explained Aquino.

It’s a strategy that Aquino explained is central to the DNA of the company and that they hope to replicate, saying it is in their ‘genes’ after creating the country’s oldest business district of Makati.

In order to pursue the strategy, Ayala Land will have to shore up large tracks of land. “We have some (of the land bank we need in the Visayas) but there are others that we are still working on. I think easily we should be talking about 1000 hectares or thereabout. We should be moving into that magnitude,” said Aquino.

The developer also hopes that as in past projects, partners will be plentiful. Aquino explained that they are very open to forming partnerships.

“If you want to have a quick way to make a development, it would be good to have some partnerships. You know Ayala always starts that way, even in Makati… That’s always part of our game plan,” he said.

Tourism business

Revenues from Ayala’s hotel and resorts improved by 11% to P1.81 billion in the first 9 months, contributing to the conglomerate’s P6.6 billion net income for the period. 

Ayala currently has 634 branded hotel rooms between Hotel InterContinental Manila and Cebu City Marriott, as well as 150 island resort rooms in Lagen, Miniloc and Apulit Island (formerly Club Noah) in El Nido in northern Palawan province.

Occupancy rates in the 3 resorts increased by 2 percentage points in the first 9 months of 2012, resulting in a 41% increase in its revenue per available room (REVPAR) to P5,214. 

Anticipating the wave

Real estate players are increasingly looking outside the Philippine’s primary tourism hub of Boracay for new areas they can develop.

The government is encouraging these moves. The Department of Tourism is wants to bring in 10 million tourists in 2016, a goal it must work towards every year till then.

The concern is ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is there to make the goal feasible.

“With new flocks of tourists to the country, the construction of hotels and other tourism infrastructure must keep up,” said Vice President Binay at the forum.

Earlier in his speech, he joked that the Ayalas were ahead of the curve in anticipating office demand for outsourcing firms.

If tourism does in fact swell, they will have anticipated the wave yet again and be there to catch it. – Rappler.com

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