European firms prefer to expand in Cebu

Photo courtesy of: PNA / Jun Nagac
Photo courtesy of: PNA / Jun Nagac

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) marked an impressive growth of up to 25 percent of its membership since its first regional office in Cebu opened in 1990, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Data showed that Cebu is among the preferred destinations for many European companies looking to expand their business operations.

Lars Wittig, newly-elected ECCP president, said Cebu has taken measures to adapt to the new normal to bring back business and commerce here amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“New normal arrived early in Cebu and it shows in the sheer number of companies organizing behind ECCP,” he said in a statement Monday.

Wittig said Cebu, as the commercial capital of Visayas, is rich in business and investment potentials and ECCP started strongly in the region with most members coming from the creative industries such as furniture, fashion, and accessories.

These industries, he said, have contributed significantly to export and international trade by means of representation and participation.

ECCP-Cebu members currently come from more diverse sectors including tourism, real estate, information communications technology-business process management-knowledge and process management (ICT-BPM-KPM), food and beverage, manufacturing, and creative industries, among others, Wittig said.

“With a very supportive local government and vast profile of office spaces designed to accommodate operational requirements, Cebu has indeed emerged as one of the key cities for European companies to do business in,” the ECCP statement said.

Wittig said he met with the ECCP Cebu Business Council last month to discuss industry updates, current status, and action plan to address current challenges, best practices, and possible synergies.

ECCP Cebu has created a name for itself other than a regional office through its advocacy initiatives, working towards actionable solutions for a better business environment for both European and Filipino companies alike in the region.

In 2019, ECCP encouraged the government to continue expanding its infrastructure development and work closely with the private sector to expedite the rollout of flagship projects.

The ECCP Cebu Tourism Committee was also launched in the same year to cater to the growing travel, hospitality, and tourism sectors in the region.

With Covid-19 adversely affecting the tourism sector, the committee stood at the forefront of finding solutions for the sector to recuperate through webinars and roundtable discussions with the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and local government units (LGU).

“Amid the global pandemic, the Chamber remained focused on providing support to its partners and members by keeping them up to date on the hospitality trend not only in the Philippines but in different parts of the world,” ECCP tourism committee chair Dottie Wurgler-Cronin said.

ECCP executive director Florian Gottein said there are more in store for Cebu as ECCP remains committed to representing the Philippine-European business community in the region.

“We recently partnered with a company who will open a 50-room lagoon resort in one of the LGUs in the province. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the local government, public and private sector that warmly welcomed our presence in 1990 and have continued to support us all the way through,” Gottein added.

ECCP Cebu will be hosting several events in the coming months such as the Tourism Reboot Forum II: Reshaping the Tourism Industry, Dialogue with LGU Forum series; training programs on Understanding the Psychology of Persuasion and Survival Guide on Branding and Marketing; Pakighimamat ug Pakiglanggikit: ECCP Cebu 30 Years of Connecting Businesses, among many others.

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