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Businessworld: "Industry Report: Tourism Incentives Body Approves First Two Ecozones"

The Businessworld, March 28, 2012 issue published its Industry Report: Tourism Incentives Body Approves First Two Ecozones. Businessworld interviewed our President, Mark Richard Evidente on these developments. The full article is linked here. An excerpt:

"Mark Richard D. Evidente, a consultant specializing in tourism development and the principal drafter of the Tourism Act 2009, concurred. “For a businessman’s point of view, start-up costs -- the costs of going from office to office -- are always high. With the implementation of the act, it does become easier.

The law aims to “provide full government assistance by way of competitive investment incentives and long-term development fund and other financing schemes."

Enterprises within TEZs can obtain fiscal incentives like a six-year income tax holiday; duty-free importation of capital equipment and goods consumed in the course of services rendered; and tax credits on all locally sourced goods and services.

Non-fiscal incentives include employment of foreign nationals in executive, supervisory, technical or advisory positions; special investor resident visas for foreigners who will be hired by locators; and privileges in connection with foreign currency transactions...

...TEZs are classified according to the nature of the business, which will determine the incentives they will get. TEZs can be cultural heritage, health and wellness, eco-tourism, general leisure and mixed-used zones.

Under RA 9593, investors are granted a social responsibility incentive or tax deduction for the cost of environmental protection or cultural heritage preservation activities, sustainable livelihood programs for local communities, and similar activities.

“[Part of the responsibility of] the investor is to [make sure that] when they come into a particular area, they have the least amount of community impact,” said Mr. Evidente, citing for example, the effect of a beach resort on the livelihood of fishermen. “If there is significant impact, [it has to find] ways in which it can bridge the community from one activity to another. In this case, the investor could employ the fishermen as part-time tour guides to accompany the divers, take tourists on island-hoping, or expose tourists to deep-sea fishing,” he added.

Incentives are important to allow investors to make better decisions and proposals. “Erratic, unplanned ventures create the different social and/or environmental problems,” Mr. Evidente said. “TIEZA creates that window where investors can come in and at the same time push for sustainable tourism,” he added."


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