The small Island of Diwaran next to Coron, Palawan, is supposed to be transformed in a new Luxury-Beach-Resort until 2012. As this would support the local-tourism industry it’s still a question how that will end.. The whole Island should compete or stand aside Phuket in Thailand.

I don’t know if that is the way the Philippines want to go in the future. On the other hand 12.000 jobs is a lot. Below the article I found in a local newspaper. Lets see how all will develop…

CORON, PALAWAN—Stand aside, Phuket. Here comes Diwaran.

By 2012, the 55-hectare Diwaran Island, part of Coron Reefs in northern Palawan, will be transformed into the “single largest integrated island resort in all Asia.”

This is the hope of Ho Kwon Ping, the Singaporean executive chair of Banyan Tree Holdings, a big developer of resorts, hotels, spas and residential homes in the Asia Pacific.

He spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of the planned resort on the largely uninhabited island Wednesday attended by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Dressed in casual attire, Ms Arroyo came with Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and Trade Secretary Peter Favila.

Challenge to Phuket

Ms Arroyo said that the project, which is estimated to cost $240 million, would be the next Phuket, the popular resort in Thailand. Ho’s company pioneered the development in that area.

“What he had been able to do there, he can certainly do here,” she said.

Ho showed the master plan of the Isla Diwaran project to Ms Arroyo under the shade of tents.

The island’s map shows that the beach with only fine white sand and few indigenous trees will have three hotels with villas, a marina with facilities for arrival by boat or by seaplane, and a town center where there will be recreational facilities and retail outlets.

“All together, if fully developed, these (hotels) will have 600 rooms … At its full occupancy, we will have more than 1,500 tourists on this island alone,” Ho said.

About 20 minutes by speedboat from Coron, the island will be a sure attraction for tourists. On the way, overhanging limestone cliffs are seen. Coron Reefs, a favorite site for divers, is also known for its diverse marine life.

12,000 jobs

As soon as the resort is completed, 3,000 people will be hired to work on the island, Ho said.

“We are expecting at least 12,000 people to acquire jobs directly and indirectly from this project,” he said.

Ms Arroyo told a fisherman in the crowd, Joel Saclet, that on nearby Amanpulo, residents no longer fished but worked in the high-end resort.

“Is that what you are also expecting?” she asked.

Saclet replied “yes, ma’am.”

“It’s not only in the operation but as well as in the construction and a lot of the people around … are expecting that as this island resort is being built, roads will be constructed from the airport to the Marcella port,” Ms Arroyo said.

2012 opening

Ho said the resort would open probably by 2012.

Based on Banyan’s statistics, Palawan will benefit from the total tourists’ spending of $200 million per year.

“This is generally a big help for Coron,” he said.

The company already has hotels in some of the world’s most exclusive and popular holiday spots such as the Seychelles and Maldives.

It will develop the project, its first in the Philippines, together with Filipino businessman Salvador Zamora of Tranzen Group.

Banyan Tree was founded by Ho, a former journalist, and his wife in 1994 and was one of the first resort chains to offer guests the seclusion of their own villa equipped with a private pool and a tropical spa.

Lets see how all will develop…