Editor Rebecca Tyre has been researching emerging opportunities in one of our favorite Asian havens. She reports this morning that:
“Tourism is a booming business in the Philippines. In 2007, the tourism industry generated US$4.88 billion, which resulted in 3.77 million jobs nationwide.
“The government of this country is keen to promote and expand this sector of its economy. To that end, it has spent two years working on the Tourism Act of 2009, new tourism legislation that will make opening a tourism-based business in the new tourism Enterprise Zone a very appealing idea.
“The benefits include preferred income tax rates; duty and tax exemptions for capital, equipment, and certain goods and services; the ability to hire foreign nationals; a special investor’s resident visa; and the right to lease and own land.
“To qualify for these benefits, including the special investor’s resident visa, you’ll need to invest at least US$200,000 in your tourism-based business.
“As the program is being discussed right now, these benefits would remain in place for 10 years, at which point the legislation would be reviewed.
“Also as part of this new incentive, the processing of permits and documents will be centralized, meaning you will not have to run around the country from one government office to another to have your paperwork approved. One government administration office is being set up as a sort of ‘one-stop-shop’ for tourism businesses.
“With the creation of this Tourism Act, the Philippines is opening its doors, telling foreigners that they are invited and welcome to live in this country.
“Right now, residency visas are somewhat difficult to obtain in the Philippines. The simplest visa currently available is the Special Retiree Resident Visa, which requires that you be over the age of 50 and that you deposit a minimum of US$50,000 in an accredited bank. In addition, with the Special Retiree Resident Visa, you’re prevented from buying real property in the Philippines.
“That’s perhaps the most important change the new legislation heralds. Expats will now be able to lease and to own land, making the Philippines the most liberal jurisdiction in this part of the world in this regard.”