‘Hotel king’ Andrew Tan’s favorite hotel, his Iloilo dream and 12,000 more rooms by 2020
WILL SOON FLOURISH - Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2015 - 10:00am

ILOILO CITY— The morning of Sept. 14 marked another milestone in the epic “rags-to-riches” career of the Philippines’ third richest billionaire Dr. Andrew L. Tan of Megaworld as he, his son Kevin and their executives welcomed President Noynoy C. Aquino, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez, DPWH Secretary Babes Singson, Health Secretary Janet Garin, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and other VIPs to the grand launch of his 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park. They also opened his 12-story Richmonde Hotel Iloilo with P-Noy unveiling a marker in its high-ceiling lobby. Tan’s first Richmonde Hotel is in Ortigas, Metro Manila.

Tan has not only come a long way to fulfill his dreams of business success as a self-made entrepreneur; he told me he is very excited about Megaworld’s contributions to the socio-economic development of Iloilo and the coming tourism boom for the Philippines.

Tan donates 1.7 hectares for Iloilo Convention Center

Later that morning, P-Noy, Drilon, Tan and others walked next door to inaugurate the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) built on a 1.7-hectare property donated by Megaworld and designed by architect William Coscoluella. Among the guests was Iloilo-born top singer/songwriter Jose Mari Chan who sang his well-applauded hit song Beautiful Girl.

Before President Aquino’s speech, Andrew Tan delivered a rare speech sharing his dream of Iloilo Business Park becoming the region’s premier tourism, lifestyle, commercial and financial hub. He announced that George S. K. Ty’s Metrobank and the Aboitiz clan’s Union Bank are set to establish their regional headquarters and offices on his development “towards the side of the historic Iloilo River.”

ICC primemover Drilon said this 3,700-capacity convention center will boost Iloilo progress. He also commented that Richmonde Hotel will force older and smaller hotels in Iloilo City to level up with better standards, thus benefitting the whole area in a win-win situation.

Tan’s South Beach-inspired Iloilo Business Park

The low-key yet successful Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez gave Philippine STAR an exclusive interview, describing Megaworld’s projects in Iloilo as “fantastic.” He added: “Andrew Tan is a very serious investor, so if you see him investing in a place like Iloilo, that’s a good sign. He’s very proud of this Iloilo Business Park project, which will generate at least 40,000 jobs when completed. Iloilo City has a local population of 400,000 and welcomes 700,000 local as well as foreign tourists per year; if they could keep going that way for the next 10 years, fantastic! Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global by year 2020 will have something like 12,000 hotel rooms; that will make Tan the largest hotel operator in the Philippines.”

I asked the world traveler and emerging Philippine “hotel king” what hotel in the world he admires most and why. “The Ritz-Carlton brand has many outstanding hotels in different parts of the world,” he said. “One that is very interesting to me is the one in South Beach, Miami. This beachfront hotel has a nice view and a welcoming ambiance. More important for me is the whole district of South Beach. This district has so many hotels, rows of them, big and small, one after the other.”

Was this his inspiration for the Iloilo Business Park, an integrated urban township rising to become the biggest business and tourism hub in Western Visayas, with a P35-billion project investment over 10 years? Tan said: “Yes, the South Beach area of Miami City gave us the inspiration for the Boutique Hotel and Commercial District in our Iloilo Business Park. We have already sold close to 50 lots to investors who will build their own boutique hotels here. This district is right next to the Iloilo Convention Center, a state-of-the-art development that will bring in local and international visitors and tourists to the area.”

Richmonde Hotel is a local Philippine brand, others under the wings of Tan include Belmont and Remington hotels. Richmonde Iloilo resident manager Natalie U. Lim said: “This is a four-star hotel yet with the feel of a five-star hotel due to our personalized service. Our core management team all came from Marriott. We have 149 rooms and 62 regular staff.”

Megaworld SVP Jericho P. Go told me they will complete the P1.5 billion, 15-story, 314-room Marriott Courtyard in 2016, saying, “This hotel project is a showcase of our company’s commitment to uplifting the Ilonggo lifestyle to a whole new level.” Megaworld executive Harold Geronimo added: “This will be the first Marriott Courtyard in the Philippines, but our chairman Andrew Tan plans to make it better than the usual Courtyard hotels elsewhere.”

Some examples of Tan’s new hotel projects nationwide include his Cebu township Mactan Newtown’s Mactan Belmont Luxury Hotel, Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown and three more hotels; these five hotels alone represent a total of P8 billion in investments.



By 2020, Philippines will welcome 10 million tourists annually

Tan confirmed DOT Secretary Jimenez’s words: “Yes, by year 2020,  we envision our Alliance Global Group, Inc. to be the largest hotel developer in the Philippines, with a total portfolio of around 12,000 hotel rooms. These hotel rooms will be offered under eight local and global brands like Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Westin, Maxims, Okura, etc. We are bullish about the great future of Philippine tourism.”

Secretary Mon Jimenez cites Tan as a visionary of Philippine tourism, pointing out that our growing Philippine tourism industry “is already the third largest export business, bigger than agriculture and financial services. In 2012, of the world’s 1.1 billion people who traveled, Southeast Asia got only 93 million tourists or less than 10 percent, so Philippine tourism indeed has a very bright future.”

Jimenez continued: “Right now, our estimated demand is already 12 million tourists, but our absortive capacity is still limited due to lack of more direct air connections, like we now only have direct flights to Europe via London. There’s a need for more hotel rooms, a need for better airports where decisions have already been done and it’s a matter of waiting for implentations. Maybe by 2018 or 2020, the Philippines will be welcoming 10 million tourists.”

* * *

 Thanks for your feedback! Email willsoonflourish@gmail.com or follow WilsonLeeFlores on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and http://willsoonflourish.blogspot.com.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with