12 April 2011

New luxury hotel opens in Subic free port

Global Hotel and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GHLPI) has opened its P70-million Segara Suites development late last week to complement its passenger terminal business and another existing hotel, officials said late last week.

Segara Suites managing director Dave Baldeo said the 18-room luxury hotel has been added to the 10 units of the Segara Villas.

The completed investment adds to the existing 1,662 rooms and 1,876 housing units in the free port and thus increases the area’s tourism potential, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand C. Arreza said.

The project of GHLPI, also the operator of a passenger terminal, will also bolster the free port’s plan to develop a cruise market here as more cruise liners set their sights in Asia, Mr. Arreza said.

Already, the SBMA has recorded a total of $1.02 billion in committed investments for tourism-related projects here, Mr. Arreza said.

Total investment commitments across all sectors meanwhile totaled $1.2 billion for 115 projects, a value nearly six times the $206.5 million recorded for 201 projects in 2009.

Of the 115 investment projects approved by the SBMA in 2010, the bulk was made up by the proposal of South Korean firm MCastle Philippines to spend about $1 billion to develop a resort in Morong, Bataan.

“The Segara resort complex now has the capabilities and facilities to serve visiting cruise ships,” Mr. Arreza said.

“Our plan to increase the number of high-quality rooms is imperative because of the increasing number of tourists coming to Subic,” he added.

The Segara Suites is said to cater to the high-end market which includes business executives as well as celebrities.

“Many are willing to spend for as long as they get their money’s worth,” Mr. Baldeo said.

He added that the new hotel is part of the expansion program of GHLPI that includes the on-going construction of Segara Residences -- a condominium project located near Subic’s Alava Pier -- and the Segara Promenade Commercial Building.

“This is the continuation of the development and expansion phases of Segara,” Mr. Baldeo said.

The company is also seeking to serve visiting cruise ships with the construction of a passenger terminal of its mother-company, the Global Terminals and Development, Inc., according to earlier reports.

The latest development comes as the SBMA had earlier sought to increase the number of shipping firms that use the economic zone’s ports.

Efforts had reportedly been under way to consolidate shipping needs of nearby manufacturers to lure carriers into serving the port, SBMA senior deputy administrator Redentor S. Tuazon had said.

The unnamed shipping firm being targeted, if it signs on, would increase the thrice weekly port calls seen by the Subic ports to daily calls.

Locators at the free port exported $1.345 billion worth of goods in 2010, an increase of 24.6% from the previous year, data from the SBMA Web site showed. But seaport revenues fell 12.33% that year to P414.538 million.

The Subic port covers 41 hectares and consists of 15 piers. (BusinessWorld)