Aquino leads opening of Solaire-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III led the inauguration on Saturday of the $1.2-billion Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City, which he said could contribute to further increase tourist arrivals in the country.
Countries in the region, such as Macau and Singapore are always competing for bigger pieces of the gaming and entertainment industry. And the presence of Solaire in the country is a positive proof that Filipinos can strike a productive balance between work and play, the President said in his message during the event.
The chief executive expressed his gratitude to the investors for putting their money in the Philippines noting that businessmen see today the country’s economy brimming with optimism and new life and at the same time consider the Philippines as a world-class tourist destination.
Such initiative will have significant contribution to the national economy as it creates 4,000 jobs for Filipinos, the President said.
“These jobs will also take on a multiplier effect. Since the people you employ will become empowered consumers, they will be spending more money on groceries, schools, and other products and services, in their own way stimulating the economy and encouraging further the growth of industries that will in turn create even more jobs,” he said.
Recent developments make it more favorable to the country’s tourism sector, Aquino said. For instance, he said that in two years, the Philippines have jumped 12 spots—from 94th to 82nd—in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Index.
In fact, the President said that in the World Economic Forum’s 2013 report, it ranked the Philippines first in the world in government spending on tourism as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), demonstrating the government’s determination to enhance the tourism industry.
This commitment is yielding positive results, he said. In 2011, the Philippines recorded 37.5 million domestic travelers, exceeding its 2016 target by two million, the President noted. The Aquino administration targets to achieve 10 million tourist arrivals in the country in 2016.
Due to the continued influx of tourists, the Department of Tourism has revised its target for domestic tourism in 2016 to 56.1 million. Furthermore, he said that in 2012, the country recorded 4.3 million international visitors, the first time it breached the 4 million mark.
With the lifting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of the Significant Safety Concerns for the country, the President said it would mean more boost to the sector.
Because of this development, the Philippines is moving closer to resuming the country’s aviation operations in Europe and the United States, he said.
The President said he also signed into law Republic Act No. 10378, which removes the three percent common carriers tax for all international air and shipping carriers on receipts and income derived from transporting passengers.
The law also exempts these carriers from paying the Philippine billings tax derived from the carriage of passengers, cargo, or mail. With the signing, the law will encourage more foreign carriers to expand their operations in the Philippines thus creating more jobs, bringing in more tourists, and allowing for the growth of the tourism industry, he said.
“Let me reaffirm ---the Philippines now has a government fully committed to pursuing both the prosperity of our people, and the prosperity of those who have placed their confidence in us,” the President said.
“Rest assured, in the coming years, we will give not just tourists, but businessmen like you, even more reason to believe that, truly, it is more fun in the Philippines,” he stressed. (SDR )