Keep an eye on the Philippines as a hot emerging destination for luxury travelers. Upon the launch of the new Raffles Makati in Manila, Raffles President John Johnston was quoted by Channel News Asia as saying: "There is a huge change now in the Philippines. I think it can be felt and I think that the tourism is going to grow and we are very happy to be a part of that growth." The country is beefing up its tourism campaign, hoping to attract 10 million foreign visitors in four years. The luxury sector is a vital strategic component- with more and more upscale hotels and resorts under construction.
Case in point: A beautiful new resort called El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island that opened in December in the archipelago of Palawan-- a UNESCO biosphere reserve that's a two-hour flight from Hong Kong. Nestled on a white sand beach against the backdrop of a lush, tropical forest, the island resort has a PADI diving center for exploring the extraordinary marine life in the surrounding protected waters. A variety of water sports are also available- including sailing, wind surfing, snorkeling and kayaking. There are 42 thatched villas, some perched on stilts in the tree canopy and others situated directly on the sand for prime beach access. For more information about the island resort and its amenities- including a spa and infinity pool- visit www.elnidoresorts.com.