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Banyan Tree to Develop Integrated Island Resort in the Philippines

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Thursday, 2 April 2009

Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last week led the ground breaking ceremony of Isla Diwaran, Philippines’ premier integrated island resort in Coron, Palawan.

The project is part of a joint venture agreement between Singapore-listed Banyan Tree Holdings Limited and its partner, Salvador B Zamora II of Tranzen Group. When fully developed, the integrated island resort will feature three resorts, a total of 600 keys, three award-wining spas, a marina and a town centre with full-fledged facilities.

To provide a capital efficient strategy for the group’s investments in the Philippines, Banyan Tree plans to set up the proposed Banyan Tree-Philippines Hospitality Fund to finance the development of Isla Diwaran, and another Banyan Tree resort in the Philippines in a site yet to be identified.

As part of the ceremony, Banyan Tree also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BPI Capital Corporation and First Metro Investment Corporation, for the joint appointment of the two banks to assist in setting up and raising investment for the proposed Fund. A second MoU was signed with Tranzen Group for the proposed investment into the Fund.

Located south of Manila in Palawan Province, Isla Diwaran integrated island resort is about 20 minutes by speedboat from the town of Coron. The sprawling 55-hectare development is surrounded by stretches of white-sand beach in an area known for its coral reefs and diverse marine life, as well as some of the world’s best known dive sites.

To introduce its signature brand of Asian hospitality to the Philippines, Banyan Tree will master plan, provide architectural and interior design concepts for the development. This will include Banyan Tree Diwaran, which consists of 100 keys of beach, hill and water villas, and Angsana Diwaran, made up of 200 keys of one- and two-bedroom suites. A third hotel is also being planned. Upon completion, the development will have a total of 600 keys, three spas, a marina and a town centre with full-fledged recreation facilities, retail and food and beverage outlets. Development costs for the Banyan Tree and Angsana resorts are estimated at more than US$200 million, and the project is targeted to open in 2012.

“We are delighted to have found this ecological haven to plant our first flag in the Philippines. We are especially proud to be working with partners who share our core values and who have taken positive steps towards sustainable tourism and environmental conservation”, said Banyan Tree’s Executive Chairman, Ho Kwon Ping.

Mr Ho added, “We are confident that the Philippines will grow as an important luxury-tourist destination. The integrated resort development of Isla Diwaran heralds the arrival of Palawan as a serious tourism player and a new destination in its own right. We are looking to tap into Philippines' tremendous potential and replicate the success of our flagship Laguna Phuket in Thailand.”

The group has already developed one of Asia’s largest integrated resorts in Laguna Phuket spanning seven hotels, a golf course and residential development. A similar project – Laguna Hue – is also being planned in Vietnam.

Banyan Tree will be pushing ahead with its expansion plans this year: Following the soft-opening of Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico in March, six more resort and hotel openings are scheduled in China, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and the Middle East.

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