New $60 Million Hotel Complex Planned for Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo broke ground Friday for the US$60 million (euro47 million) Shangri-La Resort and Spa complex on Boracay island in the central Philippines in a bid to boost tourism in the country, officials said.

The 150-room and 50-villa beachfront resort, which is to open in 2007, is the first major foreign investment in an 80-hectare (198-acre) tourism economic zone created by Arroyo on the island.

Shangri-La Asia Ltd., Asia's biggest luxury hotel operator, already runs four hotels in the country, including three in the capital, Manila.

Tourism officials said they expect 2.6 million tourists to visit the archipelago this year, up from 2.3 million in 2004, most of them from Asia.