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Although the Philippines was struck by calamities brought about by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and other natural disasters last year, the tourism industry and hotel market remains unfazed by the challenges. Tourism still proves itself to be a solid growth driver in the country. The industry has, in fact, reached a milestone with 9.56% increase in foreign arrivals in 2013. Things are also looking up for the hotel market in the country with a series of development, hotel constructions, and room expansions in its pipeline.

And even though historical cities, heritage sites, and island getaways in the Philippines have been drawing attention from people around the world and have shown great potential over the past few years, Metro Manila still remains a key destination in the country, a gateway for almost 40% of foreign travellers and tourists that come pouring in to the city.

More tourists to visit the country in 2014
Just recently, the Department of Tourism laid out all the figures to show sustained growth in the tourism industry. Foreign arrivals in the country have increased to almost 10%, from 4,272,811 in 2012 to 4,681,307 in 2013. The country is expecting even more tourists this year, with projections of over 6 million foreigners visiting the Philippines. This number is expected to grow at over 10 million by 2016.

The upswing in tourist arrivals is set to bring better prospects for the growing hotel market in the country. As a prime MICE destination and center for commerce and finance, Metro Manila is at the forefront of all the tourist activities. The hotel and leisure industry in the area can further sustain its momentum and growth. Better road access, enhanced security, and improved airport facilities can very well be the tailwinds of the tourism industry, aside from promotions and developments of travel and leisure spots and MICE destinations.

Metro Manila rises as a top emerging market
Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 cited Metro Manila as one of the top real estate markets in Asia Pacific. Much of this has to do with the steadfast economic growth in the area, along with its increasing popularity as an outsourcing hub and the country's improved government transparency. Metro Manila ranked fourth in the survey. It also took the sixth spot in industrial and hotel prospects. This shows the undeniable appeal of Metro Manila as a prime destination not only for outsourcing services and foreign investments but also as a center for leisure, entertainment, and MICE, with various luxury hotels providing the facilities and amenities for these activities. This helps the city build a more competitive global profile that allows Metro Manila to edge out other emerging markets and draw in more visitors from other countries. 

Hotel development and room expansion
The expected influx of tourist this year has spurred the development of hotels and entertainment centers all over Metro Manila. There's been a lot going on, with hotel companies here and abroad tapping into new markets and opportunities. Melco Crown Entertainment is one of the many hotel and casino brands that has seen the advantage and has taken the opportunity to develop a $600-million casino-hotel facility in Manila, the first phase of which will be completed by the first half of 2014. With a better leisure outlook and the realized potential of increased gaming for tourism, a good number of hotel and casino projects are underway.

Travellers International Hotel Group has invested in major hotel projects in Manila. One of the projects involve the construction of first-class and luxury hotels at Resorts World Manila, with room expansions to accommodate more guests. Resorts World Bayshore will also be developed as a casino resort complex, providing about 2,500 hotel rooms and a full range of gambling and entertainment facilities. The Manila Bay Resort has joined the development pipeline by bringing in three new hotels offering more than 2,000 rooms. Numerous projects and developments showcase the fast-growing hotel market in the city.