Cebu banks on regional gathering to boost creative industries

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Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industries look to put Cebu on the map with upcoming conference

STRENGTH.  The creative industries are growing fast in Cebu, famed for its acoustic guitars, which are favored by both local and foreign musicians. AFP file photo

CEBU, Manila – Local businessmen are banking on a gathering of top businessmen and government officials in the region to attract investments in and boost Cebu’s creative industries, especially the job-generating small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) officials told reporters in a January 8 briefing that they are hosting at least 300 participants for the 27th Annual Conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) in March.

Lito R. Maderazo, CCCI vice president, said the traditional economic drivers, like the business process outsourcing (BPO) and tourism industries, will be on top of the agenda for the upcoming event, but the SMEs in the creative industries will get an extra push.  

“Cebu is also putting more focus now on the creative industries, which has brought a lot of new SME’s. It opens up a lot of opportunities for investors to come into Cebu,” said Maderazo.

The creative industries in the SME sector include fashion accessories, handicrafts, furniture, jewelry, as well as Web graphic designs. “It cuts across a major population strata and generate a lot of employment,” he added.

Cebu is already considered as a creative hub for the Philippines because of its internationally prominent creative entrepreneurs or icons such as Kenneth Cobonpue and Monique Lhuillier. Several efforts have been focused on developing creative skills and innovation, and conferences like CACCI act as bridging events between the local producers and global markets or investors.  

HOST. These Cebu-based businessmen are preparing to host, for the first time, a regional gathering of Asia Pacific business leaders. Photo by Aya Lowe

CACCI is a non-governmental organization serving as a forum for promoting the role of businessmen in the region. Its annual gathering are opportunities to discuss regional, economic cooperation and development. This year’s conference will be held on March 14 to 15 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.

This year’s conference theme is “Asia Pacific: Catalst to Global Recovery” with topics that include:

  • The Euro Debt crisis and its implication for Asian business,
  • Sustainable energy resources and food security,
  • The impact of bilateral agreements and regional trade and investments,
  • The role of women and youth in economic development,
  • Trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines and Cebu.

BPO, real estate

A “common service facility” will be set up by the CCCI to aid regional investors in keeping the costs of creative industries’ operations in Cebu low, Maderazo said.

This includes bunching up the business needs of traditional economic drivers, like BPOs, tourism and real estate, together.  

“Cebu is competitive in certain sectors — tourism and real estate, for example. What we would like to happen from this conference, is that we would like the delegates to take a closer look at what Cebu is all about,” he said.

One of the biggest growing industries in the city is real estate.

“If you move around Cebu you can see there’s a mushrooming of projects and that is on account of the fact that Cebu’s economic drivers are BPO’s and tourism,” sad Francis Monera, VP of Visayas at CCCI’s parent, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Cebu’s real estate does not just cater to a local market but a regional, and increasingly, international one.

“We don’t see Cebu [province] as a [real estate] market. If you talk about ‘Cebu, the market,’ there is also Visayas and Mindanao. Many people from Mindanao or Visayas area try to have a second home or relocate to Cebu because this is where the action is,” said Maderazo. –



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