Number of foreign retirees locating to RP fall by a tenth

BusinessWorld

Posted at Feb 28 2009 02:55 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2009 10:55 AM

The number of foreign retirees locating to the Philippines in 2008 fell by nearly a tenth, data from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) show.

A total of 2,396 retirees and their dependents obtained special resident retirement visas last year, the PRA said in a statement yesterday.

The figure, however, is 8.5% lower than 2,620 in 2007, a PRA statistics department staff member said in a telephone interview.
PRA officials could not be reached to comment.

The incoming retirees generated a total of P1.813 billion in visa fees, PRA said. Chinese and Korean nationals made up the bulk of retirees at 37% and 30%, respectively.

Americans (7%), Japanese (5%) and Taiwanese (4%) and other nationalities (17%) made up the rest.

International Chambers of Commerce Retirement & Healthcare Coalition, Inc. Chairman Henry J. Schumacher said PRA would have to focus on providing service rather than collecting fees to attract more retirees. More retirement villages have to built as well, he added.

"PRA [should be] a service organization that understands that service is more important than getting fees from retirees," Mr. Schumacher said in an interview on Friday.

"We are also in need of integrated retirement villages. We have [no real] retirement village that we can present," he added.

A strategy to boost the figures, Mr. Schumacher said, would be to market the country’s long-stay program. "They will not retire here without having to live here for a while and testing the market," he said.

The private sector group has begun marketing the long-stay visit program to foreign tourists this year. "The effect of this we will see later this year," Mr. Schumacher said. — Jessica Anne D. Hermosa