Europe-PH News

European Businessmen\'s Group Teams Up with Locals to Enhance PHL Retirement Industry

April 01, 2011

Max V. de Leon

THE European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the Philippine Retirement Industry (PRI) are pushing for the inclusion of retirement villages in the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) program.

They noted that there are several pieces of government property that are idle and can be readily developed by the private sector into world-class retirement facilities.  Henry Schumacher, ECCP executive vice president, said a likely model retirement village project under the PPP scheme is the beachfront property of the former Philippine Tourism Authority in Argao, Cebu.

"I already discussed it with Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.  The area is two hours away from the airport and one hour away from the city and hospitals and the road is good, so I think we have a perfect first.  I said why not [a PPP for this]?"  Schumacher said at the launch of the 1st Philippine International Retirement and Healthcare Summit.

Currently Schumacher said the Philippines still does not have a model retirement village that it can showcase to the world.

The government, he said, owns a lot of prime pieces of property that are idle, while the developers have the capital to convert them into retirement facilities.

He said the Joint Foreign Chambers is currently using five areas in marketing Philippine retirement.  These are Clark and Subic, Metro Manila, Tagaytay and Nasugbu, Batangas, Dumaguete, and Cebu.

Ernesto Ordonez president of PRI said a model retirement village is important for branding and marketing purposes, even if in reality, most retirees really don t prefer to stay in these types of communities.

Also, he said there are retirees here who have not registered with the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) for various reasons.  This is why the PRA only has about 24,000 registered retirees on its list, he said, although it is believed there are probably about 500,000 retirees in the country already.

Schumacher said it is important that the Philippines completed its products for retirees first before spending too much on marketing.

One product that the ECCP is pushing, Schumacher said, is the long stay visitor program which would allow foreigners to stay in the country for longer periods so they can get a taste of what it is like to live here.

"If they like the country, the next logical step is to a create a second home and then eventually retire here," Schumacher said.

Ordonez said, this is consistent with what the PRI has been saying, "first is tourism, then longer stay, then retirement.


Source: Business Mirror; The Economy; 01 April 2011

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