Freeman Cebu Business

Real estate and tourism

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

There is something unique about the property sector in Cebu that makes it the darling of many foreign buyers — the idea of having to stay in a place where one can just go around and enjoy the sun, the beach, and the mountains, with a bonus of history. And this is also something that developers and sellers outside Cebu need to highlight whenever they promote their projects to OFWs and foreign buyers.

In many of my trips abroad promoting property investing in the Philippines, I always encounter this question, “How close is this condo to the beach and tourist spots?” Perhaps, we have not said enough or made no mention at all in our marketing collaterals the tourism factor of selling real estate. A lot of times we only emphasize location and amenities. Of course, location is very important but more than just proximity to conveniences, we also have to promote the place or region where the project is located.

What about amenities? Do they not attract buyers also to the project? They do attract but do not always prompt them to push the buy-button. Amenities like swimming pool, a gym, or a posh lobby are a dime a dozen these days in a condominium development. To me, they are boring and trite.  Condominium developers must realize that more than 60% of condominium buyers are investors and most of them do not stay in the condo they are buying.  

A cursory look at the appetite for Cebu verticals for example, you can feel that their success is also largely attributed to the “holiday” atmosphere that is uniquely present in Cebu. Investors are always excited with the thought of owning a condo in Cebu because they do not only have the opportunity to have their own space that’s just minutes away to the white sand beaches or to the vestiges of its rich past, but because it is easier for them to market their own units whenever they decide to rent or sell them. And that is because Cebu in itself is a tourist city which means condo investors do not have to talk much when they feel like cashing in the properties they bought. 

Tourism and real estate are twin sisters. They are not only closely-related, they work together in weaning and sustaining each other’s growth – our own growth as a country. 

Real estate developers can also transition from mere builders to construction artisans. That is, to be able build not just tall spikes from out of nowhere – but to make their very own buildings a masterpiece, a sight to behold.

Developers can also play an active complement to tourism by selling not just their project but also the city and the attractions therein. The hospitality and real estate sector can actually work together by helping the government preserve existing sites or build a new one to add up to the list of important landmarks.  

Real estate professionals must also level up and transcend their own domain of simply knowing land and housing matters. They must be always in the know of our history, the present, and future developments because real estate practice will be ruled by people with well-rounded skills that go beyond just plain knowledge in property issues. The future practitioner will be someone who is a property investment advisor and a tourism officer altogether.    


I would like to greet and congratulate Filipino Homes headed by its president and CEO, Anthony Leuterio,  on the occasion of their 8th National Convention which is currently ongoing in L’ Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City. This is the biggest real estate convention by far ever to have been held in the Philippines, with over 600 real estate marketing professionals from all over the country joining. What makes this event unique is the fact that it is being initiated by one, small company, with a big vision to promote “real estate tourism” to attract overseas markets not only to invest but also to enjoy their properties with a touch of Filipino hospitality as they also immerse in the wonders of our natural sights and historical spots.

Again congratulations to all the delegates and organizers and may you continue to play that self-initiated role being at the forefront of real estate and tourism campaign for the Philippines. Kudos!

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