Ayala Land to grow tourism landbank

by Miguel R. Camus, BusinessMirror

Posted at Nov 15 2012 07:53 AM | Updated as of Nov 15 2012 03:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is preparing for a boom in tourism arrivals and is laying down plans to widen its presence mainly in the country’s beach resort segment, a top company executive said on Wednesday.

ALI President Antonino Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of a real-estate forum on Wednesday that the builder is eyeing to grow its land- bank to about 1,000 hectares in two to three years. He said ALI, which in 2010 acquired the operator of a chain of upscale resorts in El Nido, Palawan, is about “halfway” through this goal.

“We don’t have that [scale] at this point so eventually we should move going into that magnitude. It should be more on the island-type of developments where you have beachfronts,” Aquino said at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit.

“When you look at the map of the Philippines, the Visayas is where you have a lot of islands,” Aquino said, adding that this is where much of ALI’s efforts will focus.

The aggressive targets come at the heels of government announcements to increase the country’s foreign tourist arrivals to 10 million visitors by 2016 from 3.5 million last year.

In growing its landbank, Aquino said the strategy will rely on acquisitions or partnerships, similar to what ALI has done in developing its main business districts such as Makati City and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Attaining scale in the tourism business goes back to ALI’s main strategy of creating large mixed-use developments or in this case, so-called tourism estates, Aquino said.

“Sometimes you think that this venture is only hotels but there are advanced tourism estates in other parts of the world,” Aquino said. He said the planned projects would include components such as residential and retail developments.

“We are at our best if we have that large piece of property...then start to put in our various products. You start priming it and then after you are able to increase the value of the property,” he said.

ALI operates a total of 634 rooms from its Hotel InterContinental Manila and Cebu City Marriott, and 150 island resort rooms in Lagen, Miniloc and Apulit Island (formerly Club Noah) in Palawan.

It said revenues of this segment grew 11 percent to P1.81 billion in the nine months through September. ALI’s total revenues during the period hit P39.01 billion, up 20 percent.