BAGUIO CITY, Mar. 20 (PIA) - - The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) recently  held a  tourism investment forum  for  investors , local government units and concerned government entities from Regions 1, 2 and the Cordilleras  towards bolstering the tourism industry.

TIEZA, formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority, an attached agency to the Department of Tourism (DOT) is mandated to designate, regulate and supervise the Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZs). Identified TEZs are tracts of lands with defined boundaries master planned and developed into an integrated tourism complex that would spur the economy.

TEZ Regulation Department Manager Atty. Nino Aquino presented the concept of the TEZs and the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to TEZs and tourism enterprises.

TEZs must conform to a set of criteria such that it must be contiguous, situated in a strategic area with at least five-hectares having historical and cultural significance with environmental beauty and integrated leisure facilities, and accessible through transportation and utility infrastructure systems. These may be classified into cultural heritage, health and wellness, eco-tourism, general leisure, and mixed use tourism zone.

Among the fiscal incentives for TEZ operators and registered tourist enterprises within the TEZ  include  a six-year income tax holiday; a 5% preferential tax on gross income in lieu of national taxes except for real property tax and fees of TIEZA; a net operating loss carry over scheme; import tax exemptions for capital goods and equipment needed for TIEZA-registered activities; import tax exemptions for transport equipment and spare parts needed for TIEZA-registered activities; exemption from value-added tax (VAT) and excise tax goods imported by TIEZA-registered activities; tax credit equivalent to taxes paid on locally sourced goods,  and tax deduction of up to 50% of cost of environmental protection and cultural heritage preservation activities, as well as of sustainable livelihood programs of the registered tourism enterprises.

Non-fiscal incentives are employment of foreign nationals, special investor’s resident visa, foreign currency transactions, exemption from requisition of investment, and lease and ownership of land.

Philippine Export-Import (PhilEXIM) Vice President of the Business Revenue Group I, Revenue Center 2 Rovi Peralta discussed the credit agency’s services which may be accessed by medium and large investors including export and priority sector.

An attached corporation under the Department of Finance, PhilEXIM guarantees foreign loans for developmental purposes, Philippine banks and financial institutions against losses from loans granted to exporters, producers of export products or contractors and investment of any entity, enterprise or corporation or may be extended to foreign equity infused as investment in domestic entity.

DOT Regional Director Virgilio Maguigad expressed hope that the forum has imparted not only among private investors but LGUs investment opportunities with investments not passing commercial banking requirements, and explore possibilities in partnering with private investors.

“The ball is in your hands now. Hopefully, this information will transform and translate into bigger investments for the Northern Luzon area,” he said. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Baguio)