Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tourism gets boost -- Gordon

Senator Richard Gordon, author of the recently signed Tourism Act of 2009, called on Negrenses to take full advantage of the new law to boost tourism within their island.

Gordon is set to speak the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in their ongoing national convention at the Bacolod Pavilion Resort and Hotel today.

“Negros is poised to lead the pack in Philippine tourism with the signing of the Tourism Act of 2009 and with its Bacolod-Silay Airport. No longer will it be ‘Buglas’ or disconnected as an intensified promotion of Negros under the new law will make it a Philippine gateway to international tourism,” Gordon said.

With its fruitful implementation, the law will precipitate hugely increased foreign tourist arrivals and better management of tourist destinations, he said.

With a burgeoning Negros tourism industry, even the small farmer, fisherman, and even ambulant vendors will experience a dramatic increase in their earnings, he added.

Gordon said that the new law will also lead to an increase in the value of their real property as investors look for land to lease.

“Negros, being right in the middle of the Visayas regions and gifted with many attractions, makes it prime property for foreign investors looking to establish tourism businesses. I am fully confident that the law will make Negros a premium investment destination for tourism,” Gordon said.

The senator also said that increased investments because of tourism will spur the demand for more workers in all sectors of business.

“Increased tourism leads to business growth and this is why we say, ‘Tourism means jobs’. The signing and implementation of the tourism law will generate the jobs needed to replace the jobs that are being lost overseas and even here in the Philippines,” Gordon said.

Negros Oriental is home to the dive site of Apo Island, the Balwarte Rocks and Negros Oriental Marine Conservation Park. Dolphins and pygmy sperm whales can be viewed out in Tañon Strait at Bais Bay. The Bird Sanctuary and Mangrove Park, a 400-hectare protected mangrove forest, allow visitors to view birds and other wildlife, he pointed out.

Another attraction is the Canlaon Volcano, one of the tallest peaks in the Visayas, he said.

Negros Occidental is equally blessed with beautiful natural scenery, unexplored waterfalls and mountains, white sand beaches, and crystal springs, he said.

“Tourism is integral to our fight to provide a better life for our countrymen, for wherever tourism advances poverty retreats,” Gordon said.

The new tourism law will precipitate foreign investments in tourism industries as it provides measures that will make it easier for foreigners to set up business within tourism zones. Section 77 of the law mandates the TIEZA to establish offices where prospective Tourism Enterprise Zone investors can register to obtain incentives and benefits as well as all necessary licenses and permits, he said.

Section 86 of the law provides for incentives such as income tax holidays spanning six years will be given to investors; gross income taxation of only 5 percent; 100 percent exemption on all taxes and customs duties on the importation of capital equipment; and the exemption of transportation and spare parts from tariffs and duties.

Foreign investors will also be allowed to lease land in the Philippines for a period of 50 years, which can be renewed once for a period of 25 years, he added.

Gordon stressed that the Tourism Act of 2009 is actually the distillation of the successful formulas for development which he implemented while he was chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

“Our vision for this law and for Philippine tourism is to give our countrymen the tools and guidance that will enable people to replicate the success of SBMA in every island of the Philippines. Its faithful implementation will hopefully provide our countrymen a way to realize their dreams of a better life in their native Pilipinas,” Gordon said. Visayas Daily Star

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