Palace sees steady growth in tourism industry

MANILA, July 7 (PNA) — The country’s tourism industry has grown impressively in recent years, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday.

The industry grew by 10.3 percent and contributed 6 percent to the economy in 2012, employing 4.2 million individuals, Lacierda said.

Last year, international tourist arrivals reached 4.68 million, 9.6 percent higher than the 4.27 million posted in 2012, he said, adding that the Department of Tourism is projecting the figure to increase to 6.8 million by the end of this year.

“This would solidify our country’s reputation as one of the top tourist destinations in the world,” he said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is slated to deliver the keynote address at the grand launch of Marco Polo Ortigas in Pasig on Wednesday (July 9).

Establishments such as this not only reflect foreign investors’ trust in the country but are also expected to bolster the tourism industry, Lacierda said.

The 313-room five-star hotel in the Ortigas central business district will be managed by Marco Polo Hotels.

According to reports, president and chief executive officer of Xin Tian Ti Development Corporation, Samuel Po, partnered with Marco Polo Hotels and invested P3 billion to develop Marco Polo Ortigas.

“Marco Polo Hotels has been known for its excellent services and first-class signature touches. We are incredibly excited to be affiliated with this reputable hotel brand in Asia-Pacific for the Marco Polo Ortigas, a P3-billion investment,” Po said in a statement, noting that this investment was his group’s answer to the Philippine government’s call for fresh investments in tourism.

Marco Polo Ortigas is the third Philippine hotel in Marco Polo’s portfolio, the other two being in Davao and Cebu.

Next to China, the Philippines now has the most number of Marco Polo Hotels in Asia.

Marco Polo Hotels is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Wharf (Holdings) Ltd., a Hong Kong-listed company with core business interests in property and investments in communications and container-terminal operations. (PNA)