THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) is inviting more hotels and resort operators in Cebu to register their properties with the agency so they can enjoy incentives and grow their tourism investments.
During her meeting with the different tourism stakeholders in Cebu on Friday, May 3, Peza Director General Charito Plaza highlighted the opportunities for property owners to be registered as a tourism ecozone (TEZ) or a locator inside a TEZ.
A TEZ is a tract of land of least five hectares with defined boundaries and master-planned to be developed into an integrated tourism complex.
Plaza said she is pushing for tourism because the Philippines is a tourism economy, aside from it being agriculture-driven.
A total of 7.1 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines last year, a figure that is 7.65 percent higher than 2017’s 6.62 million arrivals.
Plaza said she wants to see more hotel and resort properties in Cebu registered with Peza to boost the province’s tourism potential.
She said tax perks offered by the agency complement the upgraded international airport in courting more investors to open tourism-related businesses in Cebu.
Hotels, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Carlo Suarez said they support Peza’s initiatives and will encourage HRRAC members to consider Plaza’s invitation.
He said the perks of being a Peza-accredited establishment could help hotel and resort players lessen the operating expenses and redirect budget to improve other facets of the business.
Suarez said Plaza will return to Cebu to meet tourism stakeholders again.
The most recent property that applied to be a TEZ in Bohol is JPark Island Resort Panglao. The resort sits on a 24-hectare property in Panglao Island, Bohol.
Under the current setup, TEZs get to enjoy both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.
For fiscal incentives, investors benefit from a six-year income tax holiday that may be extended for another six years, net operating loss carry over scheme for six years, and five percent preferential tax on gross income instead of paying national taxes, except for property tax and Tieza fees.
They will also enjoy an import tax exemption for capital goods and equipment, and transport equipment and spare parts
Other fiscal incentives include tax credit equivalent to taxes paid on locally sourced goods and social responsibility incentives through tax deduction of up to 50 percent.
Plaza also suggested for city hotel owners to consider putting up an information technology building inside their property so it can become an integrated ecozone similar to the developments in Manila.
Peza is now preparing the Philippine Ecozone Map which they will present to President Rodrigo Duterte later this month.
The Philippine Ecozone Map, which would show the available areas for ecozone development, will become an easy reference for foreign investors wanting to locate their businesses in the Philippines. The map will feature location and profile of industries.