Cagayan economic zone addressing hotel shortage

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THE Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is seeking to attract hotel developers in anticipation of an increase in visitors as the zone develops its gaming attractions and builds a hub for financial technology (fintech) companies.

CEZA administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul L. Lambino said CEZA is projecting half a million visitors this year.

“There is an influx of tourists coming into CEZA nowadays, particularly in the summer months, and we are encountering problems in housing them within CEZA,” he added.

Mr. Lambino said that four local businesses are planning to start constructing hotels in Santa Ana very soon, one of which is a real estate developer.

CEZA also expects to build other hotels in partnership with foreign companies. 

“CEZA will also do its share of putting up commercial and corporate centers along with a medical center, the construction of which will begin as early as March,” he added. 

“This is one way of showing our investors, our locators that CEZA will also do its share of putting up the necessary infrastructure.”

Sinosun Subic Bay Holdings Corp., which signed a memorandum of understanding with CEZA for a feasibility study on the development of a cryptocurrency and financial technology hub in the zone on Thursday, will also assist CEZA with other tourism initiatives such as hotels and resorts. 

This will include projects such as road widening beginning from the new Cagayan International Airport which will start to accommodate private chartered flights aside from commercial flights by March. 

Sinosun Chairman Samuel Lim said: “We have partners who can complete buildings within half a year and we’re trying to capitalize on that to build hotels as soon as possible. We hope by the end of the year we’ll have some of the hotels built, ready for accommodation,” he added. 

Currently, the core of CEZA’s business is gaming. While more than 70% of interactive gaming is in CEZA, Mr. Lambino said that the zone has canceled 164 licenses as of late 2017 after a government crackdown on online gambling in 2016. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato