Businesses in Manila’s tourist belt won’t die despite establishment of Solar City, says Manila mayor

MANILA — Business establishments in Malate and Ermita will not die with the coming of the 148-hectare Solar City, which will even boost tourism, as well as the restaurant and entertainment industry, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has said.

“There will be more tourist arrivals once the cruise terminal has been put up, and it will bring more income to the surrounding communities and businesses, aside from billions in taxes the city government will get,” Estrada said.

Manila City Hall is pushing for the development of Solar City on three islands to be reclaimed in Manila Bay, where business centers, residential and commercial properties, and tourism facilities, including an international cruise ship terminal, will be put up.

MANILA Goldcoast Development Corp. (MGDC) vice chair Edmundo Lim said Solar City will never become a competitor to local businesses, particularly to the Ermita-Malate Business Owners Association, Inc. (EMBOA).

“Where do tourists go upon arriving in Manila? It’s usually in Ermita and Malate, and also in Intramuros, and in shopping districts. Businesses in these areas mainly depend on tourists, so our role is to bring in more tourists for them,” Lim said.

“So, can you imagine, if you have two million tourists arriving every year and they go to Intramuros paying only what? PHP100 entrance (fee) per person, it’s incredible, isn’t it? Malaking impact sa Manila (Its impact on Manila is huge),” he added.

The local tourism industry that will be rejuvenated by the operation of Solar City would also create jobs for hundreds of thousands of Manileños, addressing the city’s unemployment problem, said Lim.

Estrada has said that Solar City is projected to generate up to PHP17 billion in taxes every year on top of PHP10 billion in real property taxes, generate 100,000 jobs during the construction phase and up to 500,000 more once it becomes operational.