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Philippines invites Taiwan for tourism investments

Philippines invites Taiwan for tourism investments

Philippines ongoing disputes with China may explain the turn the country is taking and is now looking at Taiwanese investments in Philippine the travel and tourism industry

nPhilippine officials sought to attract Taiwanese investment to the Southeast Asian nation’s tourism sector at the two-day Philippine Tourism Investment Forum, which ended on Friday in Taipei, as overall Taiwanese investment has fallen in the countries covered by the New Southbound Policy.

Taiwanese investment in the Philippines peaked in 2015 at US$644 million, but fell 76 percent to US$149 million last year, even though the number of investments has risen fivefold.

Taiwanese investments in the 18 countries covered by the policy fell 38 percent last year. Investments in those countries reached US$3.5 billion in 2015, but fell to US$2.1 billion last year, despite the number of investments more than doubling.

Officials at the forum nonetheless touted the investment opportunities in the Philippines’ tourism and tourism infrastructure sector to about 120 Taiwanese conglomerates and business leaders.

The forum was organized by the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei to promote Taiwanese investment, development and partnership opportunities in the Philippine tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors, and to boost Taiwan’s presence in the industry, the office said.

It was the first time that the office held such a meeting in Taiwan.

MECO Chairman Angelito Banayo highlighted the opportunities that are being offered to potential investors by the Philippine Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, a government agency tasked with developing and promoting tourism projects, it said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April signed a law granting the authority extended powers to offer incentives for tourism enterprises located in designated tourism enterprise zones.

The incentives include income tax holidays of up to six years, 5 percent preferential taxes on gross income, and tax exemptions on the importation of capital and transportation of equipment until 2029, among others, the office said.

The Philippines, Taiwan’s closest New Southbound Policy partner, had the highest growth in tourists from Taiwan at 55.42 percent in June and 30.6 percent in the January-to-June period, compared with the same period last year, the office said, citing Taiwanese government data.