Econorth gets nod as BOI’s first IB project

The Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of Seda Lio Resort as the first inclusive business model (IB) project under the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). Seda Lio Resort is a Php1.7 billion hotel project of Ayala Land Hotel and Resorts Corp. (AHRC) approved by the BOI last year. It was constructed and is being operated by Econorth Resort Ventures, Inc. (ERVI), an AHRC subsidiary.

The Seda Lio Resort is located within the sprawling 325-hectare Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido, Palawan, which is Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) first ecologically sustainable tourism estate. Overall, the estate is managed by Ten Knots Development Corporation, also an ALI subsidiary. Ten Knots combines business with long-term environmental conservation. It measures its success through its quadruple bottom line achievements on financial profitability, environmental conservation, social responsibility and employee satisfaction.

“This development is a boost to Palawan not only as one of the country’s top tourist destinations but also as being at the forefront of promoting a healthier environment and having an inclusive business model wherein the community is engaged in a sustainable manner,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said. He added that the Seda Lio Resort project creates an inclusive impact by integrating the low-income community in the company’s value chain through employment and sourcing of goods and services.

Under the IPP, IB projects may qualify for pioneer status with up to five years of income tax holiday (ITH) subject to certain conditions. The IPP criteria for IB Models call for at least 25 percent of total costs of services to be sourced from micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and at least 25 direct jobs to be generated for individuals from the marginalized sector with at least 30 percent of the said jobs allotted for women. Target income would be the minimum wage or baseline income plus 20 percent increase, whichever is higher. IB firms are also obliged to provide technical assistance and capacity-building to MSEs, and/or facilitate access to finance.

Econorth projects total costs of about PHp243.8 million a year, with services sourced from MSEs of around Php60 million by the third year of operation. The company has also committed to support staff development, allowing more opportunities for employees to grow in the service industry. Additionally, employees will undergo courses on managing local suppliers, tax and proper documentation, seminars on hazard and the environment and other educational courses. The company says the project is an opportunity for shared value creation between Seda Lio and the engaged communities by tapping the potential of the locals as a young and trainable work force in the thriving tourism industry of the province.

Seda Lio is a 153-guestroom resort on a 3.9-hectare land within the Lio Tourism Estate. The hotel’s design is in line with Lio Estate’s sustainable grand masterplan. The hotel has three floors to ensure that it does not rise above the coconut tree line. It is surrounded with open spaces landscaped with plants and trees widespread in Palawan. Seda Lio Resort is scheduled to start operations within the third quarter of 2018. The resort is part of ALI’s plan to spend around Php11 billion through 2022 to develop the Lio tourism estate in several phases. (END)