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In Central Visayas, a rosier economy predicted

Central Visayas economy has performed strongly in the last five years, posting an average annual growth rate in gross regional domestic product (GRDP) at 9 percent, or better than the national average of 6.3 percent.

It showed resilience by rebounding quickly from economic disruptions, such as the global financial crisis in 2009 and the devastating two calamities that hit the region badly in 2013.

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Although the region is well-integrated into the global economy through its tourism, business outsourcing and export manufacturing sectors, it was not significantly affected by the global slowdown.

Conscious efforts to claim a larger share of the tourism and business outsourcing global market for Cebu province and the region resulted in its rapid growth, which, in turn, supported expansion of their construction, transportation, financial and retail services.

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The momentum established by the aggressive marketing and expansion of capacities in these sectors will continue on a high growth path this year.

The Department of Tourism projects an increase in tourist arrivals in the region from 3.4 million in 2014 (January to November) to 4.4 million this year.

This is a realistic target given lower air fares brought about the declining oil prices and the hosting of five Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) ministerial and senior officials’ meeting in Cebu, bolstering its position as a convention destination.

As the second largest outsourcing location outside of Metro Manila, the region is also in good position to secure a substantial share of the projected growth of the country’s Information technology-business process outsourcing sector, which intends to capture 10 percent of the global market by 2016.

Many of the construction projects launched in the last three years have made available additional office space for expanding and new locators.

The regional office of the National Economic and Development Authority forecasts a 9.7-percent increase in GRDP in 2015.

This optimism is shared by local business groups, which perceive high level of business and consumer confidence.

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Private consumption spending is expected to remain robust, especially with the opening of large retail complexes, such as the new SM Seaside Mall and Ayala Center Mall extension in Cebu City.

Another stimulus to the regional economy is the expected increase in government spending as implementation of rehabilitation projects in disaster areas, as well as new infrastructure and development projects will be accelerated before elections next year.

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Yuleta Ruiz Orillo is an assistant professor in economics of the University of the Philippines-Cebu.

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TAGS: Central Visayas, Economy, Regions
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