Undaunted by the global economic slowdown, the Cebu-based Islands Group, which started out as a souvenirs and clothing company, is turning its sights on packaging tourism activities.
The Islands Group also expressed optimism about this year’s sales by its hugely successful Islands Souvenirs chain of shops all over the country, with the steady growth of tourists in key destinations.
Jay Aldeguer, president and chief executive officer, told the BusinessMirror they have expanded into the island-hopping business via Islands Banca Cruises, complemented by their Islands Adventure that offers tourists more sporty activities like spelunking, mountain biking, and trekking.
Initially capitalized at P2 million when launched in May 2008, Islands Banca Cruises has since doubled its investment.
“Actually I started Islands Banca last year only because there really used to be a dearth of activities here in Cebu. Island hopping’s been there for quite sometime but it remains a cottage industry, yet it’s the most popular [tourism] activity. What we did was try to spruce it up a little bit and professionalize it,” said Aldeguer.
He started his souvenirs business in early 1992 when he was just 22, right out of college. He has since reaped a number of local awards for his entrepreneurship, including a TOYM in 1997 when he was 27, the youngest to be awarded for the category of business entrepreneurship.