CEBU tour operators and real estate brokers can work together to market Cebu as a tourism and retirement destination, an industry player in tourism said.

“Before these foreign nationals become investors here or buy properties to settle down here, they become tourists first,” said Alice Queblatin, Tourism Congress vice president for travel and tour group for Visayas.

“They consider the beauty of the destination before they buy properties or invest. So in this area, tour operators and real estate brokers can actually come together and collaborate so we can grow our arrivals for both tourism and investment,” she added.

Queblatin, who owns Southwind Travel and Tours, said she is open to work with the players in the real estate industry because they can help bring in more foreign tourists here. She noted that like them, real estate brokers conduct roadshows abroad, selling Cebu’s tourism as a strategy to get foreign retirees to settle down here.

“This is one of the reasons the country is courting the Japanese market again because we want them to come back to the Philippines. Aside from being a high-spending market for tourism, they are one of the best markets for our retirement villages,” she said.

Retirement is a niche product the tourism department and its stakeholders should exploit more alongside diving, medical tourism, and ESL (English as Second Language), according to Queblatin.

The Philippine Retirement Authority has been inviting former Filipino citizens and foreign nationals to choose the Philippines as their second home. The agency said retirees can “expect a good life here at an affordable cost”, coupled with the vibrant culture, hospitality, friendly English-speaking population, natural attractions, and tropical climate.

Philippine Allied Chamber of Real Estate brokers and Licensed Salesmen (PhilAcre) president Anthony Leuterio said that Cebu as a tourist destination sells.

He said that when they conduct roadshows abroad, they don’t sell properties directly but market and promote Cebu as a destination.

With all the ongoing developments in Cebu, both in infrastructure and real estate products, Leuterio, who also owns and Leuterio Realty said Cebu can compete with the likes of Hawaii as the second home of choice for most wealthy markets all over the world.

He, however, emphasized that Cebu has to create a “powerful branding proposition” to convince foreign tourists to make the province their second home.