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Foreign chambers cite retirement hubs

[ BusinessWorld Online ]
Friday, July 25, 2008 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

FOREIGN businessmen want to market five prime locations in the Philippines to foreign retirees in a bid to make the country the next retirement hub in Asia.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Executive Director Henry J. Schumacher said this is the thrust of four business chambers, namely: ECCP, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

"Our focus is on future markets of the local retirement sector. It’s been said that the future of the Philippines is in services, so if the Philippines wants to be a retirement haven, it needs to move," he told reporters.

The business groups are currently drafting a program to promote five locations to foreign retirees — Subic Freeport, Metro Manila, Tagaytay, Cebu and Dumaguete cities.

"We have considered as criteria for choosing these destinations the environment, proper accommodation as well as sufficient healthcare services. Those are the ideal services that the Philippines can offer," he said.

The country is targeting retirees from North America, Japan and Europe, he said.

Foreign business groups will also assist interested retirees in meeting various immigration requirements in the country, Mr. Schumacher said.

The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) earlier said the retirement industry is eyeing to create eight million jobs and contribute about $44 billion to the economy by 2015.

PRA also said the Philippines could tap a potential market of about 1.7 million Filipino-Americans who are expected to retire by 2015 to bring in massive investments to the local economy.

Data from US-based real estate consultant Philippine Property Center, Inc. showed every US retiree has at least a minimum of $100,000 which could be invested in the Philippines.

The country is targeting to attract about 6,000 retirees this year.

About 50% of people who retire and invest their retirement money in the Philippines are from South Korea, followed by Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Europe and the United States.

PRA said the Philippines has the capacity to support one to three million expatriate retirees remitting between $18 billion to $54 billion annually. — B. S. Sto. Domingo

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