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Cebu eyed as haven for retirees

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 31, 2008

By MALOU M. MOZO


CEBU CITY — Tourism stakeholders in Cebu are advised to look into the potentials of the retirees market as plans for infrastructure facilities for medical tourists are now in the pipeline.


CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBRE-Philippines), a commercial and real estate services firm, said Cebu should begin cashing in on the market for retirees, who are described as adventure and leisure enthusiasts with ages ranging from 40 to 60.


They are deemed to belong to the high-spending segment.


"Active retirees want to be mobile. They want to see places and have fun," said Victor Asuncion, CBRE-Philippines head of research unit.


He said that Cebu’s golf course facilities are not enough to accommodate this market, considering that retirees would also be needing medical services, which are being offered by world-class hospitals and clinics in Cebu.


Citing his company’s survey, Asuncion said that an integrated retirement village in Cebu is needed in the next two years to capture the growing retirees market. This is in preparation for the time when they seek proper retirement community that will offer everything they need in one place, he said.


Golf course facilities in Bantayan and Bogo towns, for instance, are always fully packed by the active retirees who come from different parts of the world, including Japan and Europe.


To date, he said, there are only five golf courses in Cebu, and these are not enough to host the growing market for active retirees.


Once Cebu attracts a significant number of active retirees, Asuncion said, there would be a high demand for resort residences or sea-side condominiums. Eventually, he added, the retirees would invest in real estate properties here.


Earlier, the Department of Tourism launched the "Live Your Dream" campaign, an investment-tourism strategy to attract foreigners, such as active retirees, to invest in vacation homes in the Philippines.


If the campaign attracts at least 1,000 foreign buyers, and each buys at least 0,000 worth of vacation home, the program would easily generate 0 million for the Philippine economy, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said.


Durano said this concept was developed following the high satisfaction rate of the Philippines, as a destination for foreign travelers.


Record shows that Philippines scored 87 percent satisfaction rate among foreign tourists last year.


"We have a high rate of repeat visit. At least 60 percent of first-time tourists come back to the Philippines," he said, adding that the campaign is sure to generate tourism income and encourage tourists to stay longer.

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