Cebu City & Its Rising Economy

“Queen of the South” and “Tourism Gateway for Central and Southern Philippines” are only two of the nicknames given to Cebu City for constantly holding its place in the top lists of developing economies in the country.

Regional and economic growth in the south has never been this apparent, and indeed, Cebu is on the rise as the country’s alternate metropolis. More businessmen are locating themselves in Cebu and it seems that business process outsourcing (BPO) industries, tourism, information technology (IT), creative industries, and having a talented workforce are contributing to Cebu’s growing economy.

Having a history of being the center of trade and commerce even in the old days, Cebu has maintained its economic activity, even opening the opportunity for more developments in the south. For several years now, Cebu has been seeing a rapid and strong regional growth.

It holds the record for being the biggest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from Central Visayas and is expected to contribute more as it learns to tap and utilize its strengths in its economic drivers. Analysts expect economic growth in Cebu to continue as it pursues and sustains the economic momentum that it is now experiencing.

Economic Drivers In Cebu

Business in Cebu has been strengthening over the years, and it is now the second largest metropolis and one of the strongest local economies in the country. It had started from BPO industries, but the business activities of local and multinational companies operating various capacities has now expanded, from call centers to IT development, accounting, legal work, and many more.  There are a lot of BPO industries that has already been set up in Cebu, but it is still expected to soar in the coming years.

One contributing factor of growing businesses in Cebu is that most property companies that operate in Cebu have their origins in Manila. Many big properties previously located in Manila has now moved to Cebu with the hopes of business growth, and they are not likely to be disappointed.

Businessmen and investors are now locating themselves in Cebu, gaining total advantage of the economic zones in the city which are boasting world-class facilities, with business incentives that are attracting more investors, like tax holidays, exemption from export tax, simplification of custom procedures, and many more. This has helped with Cebu’s economic growth and why they have been boasting an excellent economic track record for several years now and still counting.

Tourism is also one of Cebu’s most significant economic drivers. The upgrade of Mactan-Cebu International Airport and constructions of first-class hotels and resorts in Mactan are being anticipated as they will surely deliver world-class facilities and services that will demonstrate the warmth and hospitality of the Cebuano people. In the tourism sector, private sector is fueled by Filipino capital, and luxury hotels with foreign capitals have local partners.

Activities like the annual Cebu Business Month (CBM), the flagship project of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and which is celebrated in the month of June every year, also helps promote, inspire, and attract more business by giving the opportunity for various stakeholders to gather and talk about events related to Cebu’s main economic drivers, including but not limited to tourism, information and communications technology-business process management (ICT-BPM), entrepreneurship, and creative industries.

Professional & Talented Workforce

It cannot be denied as well that Cebu is fronting a talented workforce who are college educated, specialized in their skill set, and highly trainable.

Cebu is now home to thousands of employees working in restaurants, hotels, housing developments, and the likes. They are behind all these active businesses, contributing to the creative industry of the city, and making Cebu one of the country’s source of world renowned artists and designers, especially in the furniture industry.

There was once a time when Cebu was forced to buy expensive quality imports, but now, they have the capability to process home-made goods that they can even export to reach the rest of the country.

An Ideal Location For Businesses

The livability of the area in Cebu can make other provinces and cities envious as it becomes an ideal location for the metropolitan necessities. It is now known not only all over the country but also in all of Asia that Cebu is one of the most liveable cities.

It can now be considered as an alternate metropolis, and more people—businessmen or ordinary citizens— are getting attracted to try out their luck in the city as more opportunities are being opened. It is an ideal place for ordinary citizens and businessmen as the area is not prone to natural disasters: it is not in the earthquake zone, not within typhoon belt, and free from volcanoes. It also holds the best records for peace and order in the whole country.

The geographical location of Cebu also makes it accessible to both foreigners and natives: its air, land, and sea connections are easily accessible by foreigners and natives alike. It is encouraging migration— opening opportunities not only for people, but also for knowledge transfer and technology.

Photographed by Noel Ty

Dana Sioson
Dana Sioson

An artist who weaves words into stories and paints moments with light. She's a writer and photographer who is fond of sports, films, and fishes.

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Spotlighting the growth, development, and progression of the Philippines since 2009. Balikbayan Magazine is a publication of the Asian Journal Media Group.