The city government has marked the visit to Puerto Princesa City of some 600 Chinese tourists on chartered flights between February and March as a breakthrough in its bid to tap on the big Chinese tourism market.
Michie Meneses, City Tourism Office (CTO) Promotions and Marketing Division chief, said the visitors will be coming from three major cities in China, beginning with an initial batch of 199 Chinese nationals from Tianjin on February 8 on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight.
“It’s one of the exciting developments our city tourism is rolling out this year – opening our doors to our Chinese friends who want to explore the beauty of our natural sights,” Meneses said Friday.
“PAL already confirmed the arrival to us just recently, and we’re already preparing our frontliners for this, including the destinations they want to visit,” she added.
The visitors are expected to visit the city’s flagship destinations, the Puerto Princesa Underground River and Honda Bay, and the sites under the City Tour package.
Meneses said they will be undertaking improvements in the main attractions of the city, including putting up Chinese signages.
“Part of preparing these sites is putting up signage with Chinese translation,” she said.
Aside from PAL, chartered flights will also be made by China Airlines, as part of its test flight in preparation for its plan to have direct flights to the city, the City Information Office said.
The chartered flight chain will continue until February 22 and will resume bringing Chinese tourists again on March 25 from the cities of Beijing and Shenzhen.
Meneses said her office will be sprucing up their proposed city’s “China town” in Valencia Street and the Old Public Market area at the city proper.
“We’ll dress up that street with red, gold, and pink decorations for the Feb. 16 Chinese New Year celebration, and put giant angpau (red envelopes) on Acacia trees to have the festive look,” she said.
With a share of 20,881 tourists, Chinese nationals ranked third in the top 20 foreign nationalities who visited the city last year, CTD data showed.