ASIDE from increasing its investments in the residential front, Grand Land Inc. will also strengthen its presence in tourism, following the firm’s partnership with Dusit International for the 295-room Dusit Princess inside its latest Grand Tower project.

“We are planning to build more hotels around Cebu,” said Grand Land President Ryan Bernard Go, acknowledging tourism as one of the growth drivers for Cebu’s economy.

Go believes Cebu deserves to have more foreign-brand hotels to enrich its hospitality sector. “We plan to position ourselves and be known in this niche market of branded hotels,” he said.

Go explained that when foreign tourists come to Cebu, they don’t just pick hotels they know nothing about. Aside from looking online to check for information about hotels, some tourists would prefer to stay in hotels they are familiar with.

According to Go, they may consider another tie-up with Dusit International for a planned hotel or resort project in Oslob and Moalboal.

“We are still studying how we are going to set up there. We are still in the planning stage. What we do know is that hotel rooms are lacking in that area vis-a-vis the influx of local and foreign tourists in that part of Cebu,” he said.

The project is not the group’s first venture into hotel developments. The company owns hotels in Davao and Bacolod under the Grand Regal Hotel brand.

Grand Land Inc. formalized its partnership with Dusit International during the launching of Grand Tower last Thursday at Cebu City Sports Club.

The P2-billion, 30-storey building will have office and hotel units. Its ground floor will house the retail component.

The tower will carry the four-star hotel Dusit Princess, one of Dusit International’s brands. Hotel rooms in Dusit Princess Cebu will be sold as condominium units while office spaces will be available for purchase.

Ryan Chen, director of development for Asia-Pacific at Dusit International, said their partnership with Grand Land is timely as they have long planned to enter Cebu, being a gateway for trade and tourism in the southern Philippines.

“We wanted to help develop the city and grow with the Cebuanos,” said Chen. “We are bringing in Dusit Princess, which will help enhance the city’s tourism landscape.”

Grand Tower is the ninth project of the Gaisano Grand Group since it entered real estate.

According to Go, as soon as they obtain all the permits, they will proceed with the groundbreaking by the third quarter of this year. The firm targets to complete construction by 2017 for the office spaces and 2018 or early quarter of 2019 for the hotel.

As for the residential segment, Go disclosed the company is firming up its plans of developing socialized and economic housing projects in Mactan.

The firm will also launch three more projects in Metro Cebu.