The first annual Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) Investment Forum was held at Royce Hotel in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga on February 27, 2017.
Spearheaded by Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 3, the forum was attended by key representatives from different tourism enterprise companies and Philippine government attached agencies namely, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), and the Philippine Export- Import Credit Agency (PHILEXIM).
Having tourism as one of the world’s biggest industries, which accounted 9.8% of the global GDP in 2016 and employed 284 million people in the same period. In line with this, TIEZA encourages potential investors to venture and develop their properties into a TEZ.
TEZ is the Philippine government extending a hand to the private sector through incentives that greatly reduce the risks associated with large investments. The goal is to accelerate the development of the next tourist frontier by stimulating investments, and by giving operators the elbow room they need to expand rapidly.
TEZ is also a tract of land with defined boundaries, master planned for development into an integrated tourism complex with prescribed carrying capacities, to host tourism enterprise facilities and services within. According to TEZ ACOO Joy Balauitan, these are the following qualifications that make a geographical area in the country eligible for becoming a TEZ:
- The area is capable of being defined into one contiguous territory;
- It has historical and cultural significance, environmental beauty, or existing or potential integrated leisure facilities within its bounds or within reasonable distances from it;
- It has, or it may have, strategic access through transportation infrastructure, and reasonable connection with utilities infrastructure systems;
- It must be at least five (5) hectares and sufficient in size, such that it may be further utilized for bringing in new investments in tourism establishments and services;
- It is in strategic location such as to stimulate sustainable socio- economic development of neighboring communities; and
- The area must be situated where controls can easily be established to curtail illegal activities. (Section 65, RA 9593)
TIEZA is the sole entity in the Philippines with the authority to designate a TEZ. To further encourage future investors, TIEZA laid out both of their fiscal and non- fiscal benefits during the forum.
The granting of fiscal incentives to TEZ operators and registered tourism enterprises will help pave the way for a more competitive Philippine tourism industry. Operators now have much needed leeway as well as a safety net to think bigger, and expand more aggressively.