CORON, Palawan (March 24) — Singapore-based hotel and resort firm Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd. and its partner Salvador Zamora II, a Filipino mining and real estate magnate will develop a 55-hectare luxury resort on Diwaran, an uninhabited island framed by stretches of white sand beaches and known for its coral reefs and diverse marine life, as well as some of the world’s best dive sites.
This will furthe boost Philippines’ position as a tourist destination of choice in Asia.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself will lead the groundbreaking ceremonies for the luxury facility here tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25, 2009).
A Banyan Tree official said the project will retain its secluded and intimate ambience due to the island’s size and terrain, and the Banyan Tree-signature pool villa, multi-award winning spa and its unique brand of Asian hospitality
The entire project is targeted for completion in 2012. When completed and fully operational, it will employ as many as 8,000 Filipinos./Banyan Tree executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said Diwaran will not only enhance the company’s position as a premier resort chain in Asia but will also give it an important foothold in the Philippines which has tremendous tourism potentials.
He said his company likewise intends to explore other investment and development opportunities in the Philippines, and seek out partnerships with local investors./Banyan Tree resorts are now found in Phuket, Thailand (1994), Maldives Vabbinfaru (1995), Bintan, Indonesia (1995), Bangkok, Thailand (2002), Seychelles (2002), Ringha, China (2005), Lijiang, China (2006), Bahrain (2006) and Maldives Madivaru (2007).
Its flagship facility, Banyan Tree Phuket, was the first to introduce a tropical garden spa concept./To date, the Banyan Tree Group either manages or has stakes in 22 resorts and hotels, 62 spas, 65 retail galleries and two golf courses.
Banyan Tree, which had invested before in the Philippines, considered returning and looking for new investment opportunities in the country after its officials met with President Arroyo during her Singapore visit in November 2006./Ho noted that the Philippines tourism industry’s potential is superb. “This country has excellent food, natural resources and culture. It already has infrastructures that are way ahead of its Asian neighbors but its roads, airports and seaport still need improvements,” he added.
The Department of Tourism assisted the company in choosing Palawan as the choice location for its venture./Tourism officials have expressed optimism the project, which will have 600 rooms, three spas, a marina and a town center, will contribute to the much-needed tourism facilities that will enable the country to reach its goal of attracting five million visitors by 2010.