Amid weak agri, exports Cebu banks on tourism and IT-BPO industries
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - May 2, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu's economic activity is seen to be continually driven by tourism and the IT-BPO (information technology-business process outsourcing) sectors this year.

Cebu’s economy has been reliant on both industries amid the dismal growth in its agriculture and exports sectors.

Tourism and BPO businesses have been pumping money into Cebu, with both sectors being among the leading job generators in the province.

National Economic and Development Authority regional head Efren Carreon sees both sectors leading the growth this year.

He said overall outlook for this year "remains positive" as the upcoming election is seen to further support growth prospects.

"The upcoming election is likewise expected to have a positive impact on election-related businesses," he said.

"And consumer spending is expected to rise with inflation reverting back within the government's target of 2-4 percent," he added. 

The official also expected the increasing tourist arrivals in Cebu and the Central Visayas region will further support the aviation and shipping industries.

Last year, Mactan-Cebu International Airport opened its second passenger terminal, increasing the number of international routes out of Cebu and eventually boosting growth of its international passengers.

In 2018, 15 new international routes were launched to and from MCIA, the country’s second busiest. About 12 of which were direct flights from Cebu to mainland China, now the province's fastest growing tourist market.

Moreover, the tourism boom and the expansion of BPO companies in Cebu are also expected to continue drive demand for real estate -- office and residential -- and retail.

Earlier, Rick Santos, president and CEO at global realtor Santos Knight Frank, said tourism and BPO would continue to sustain the robust demand in Cebu's real estate industry, spanning office, residential and retail.

He had said Cebu’s office, residential and retail sectors will continue to see healthy growth in 2019.

"Cebu’s commercial and office real estate market remains healthy," Santos had said.

The global realtor has projected the Cebu office sector to continue to add more supply and is set to breach the 1 million square meter-mark by 2020.

On the demand side, Santos noted that office space take-up will still be driven by IT and BPO companies that are looking for new destinations outside Manila for growth.

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