The leading real estate developer in the Visayas-Mindanao region, Cebu Landmasters Inc., is collaborating to put up more hotel projects with The Ascott Limited in southern Philippines. Their first project together opens this summer in the Queen City of the South, the 180-room Citadines Cebu City at Baseline Center.
Described as a class of its own in Cebu, the first branded serviced apartment in the metropolis will cater to both short and long-stay clients.
Both companies have also entered into partnership agreements for other hotel properties carrying the Citadines brand in Davao and Bacolod, and still another project targeted towards millennials that will carry the “lyf” brand in Cebu.
The Ascott group is the largest serviced residences operator in the world and offers a range of brands. In addition to Citadines for young professionals, and “lyf,” a co-living serviced residence concept for millennials, it also offers Ascott, catering to the high-end market; Somerset, popular for executives and their families; The Crest Collection, composed of heritage properties; Quest Apartment Hotels with locations in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the UK; and very recently, Tauzia Hotels from Indonesia. The Ascott Group now has over 100,000 rooms globally.
Jose Soberano III, Cebu Landmasters chief executive officer, says the company sees many more opportunities for collaboration between the two firms given the projected growth in tourist arrivals and the need for additional capacity.
“In terms of tourist arrivals, the Philippines pales in comparison to our Asean neighbors,” Soberano says, citing Thailand and Malaysia as examples.
The Philippines had less than seven million tourists in 2018. On the other hand, Thailand reported over 38 million tourists in 2018 while Malaysia had more than 25 million tourists. “Even a place like Bali has about the same number of tourists as our national level,” he says.
He explains that the country needs additional capacity to be able to attract more tourists, including the big conventions.
“We see many opportunities we can take advantage of and will make this part of our growth strategy — especially as a means to boost the recurring business of our revenue base,” Soberano explains.
CLI senior vice president and chief operating officer Jose Franco Soberano emphasizes, “We are now Ascott’s biggest owner-developer-partner in the Philippines.”
The older Soberano notes, “CLI is building more projects in Gensan, Butuan and Ormoc this year. We will also naturally explore the need for hotels in these areas.” At present, CLI has 800 rooms that will be managed by Ascott but the company plans to double the number of rooms by 2022.
The 180 units at Citadines Cebu City will come with fully functioning kitchen, separate work and living areas, home entertainment and broadband Internet connection. The 22-floor tower will also feature a swimming pool, fitness center, commercial spaces, dining and retail outlets. Ideally located in the heart of Cebu, the property is close to medical tourism facilities, government offices and schools.