Development planners looking at ways to develop Puerto Princesa City’s tourism potential has pointed out the inadequate facilities available locally for large events such as conventions that will attract more visitors and boost tourism activities in the city.
Dubbed as “MICE” facilities, the USAID-funded SURGE project being undertaken in Puerto Princesa City refers to them collectively as facilities that can host meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions.
Cecilia Isubal, city program coordinator of USAID/SURGE project, said that more MICE facilities is needed for the city considering the growing demand from groups wanting to hold major events requiring MICE facilities.
At present, the city government’s data showed there are 279 accommodations in the city with a total of 849 rooms, comprising of hotels and apartels, pension houses, tourist inns, and resorts. All these have a total number of 4,801 rooms. However, there are only seven hotels that has more than 100 rooms.
Isubal said that MICE facilities are important because Puerto Princesa City, being a premier tourism destination, needs to address the need for hosting big events and major gatherings.
Isubal said this problem was raised in their project’s recent workshops involving tourism stakeholders in the city.
“Yan ang kahalagahan ng mga ginagawa nating workshops at focus group discussions, napapag-usapan ang mga mahalagang concerns na may kaugnayan para mas magkakatugma-tugma ang mga plano, at para naman ito sa turismo,” she said.
She added that there is also a need for the city to conduct investment promotions to prompt investors to introduce more MICE facilities in Palawan’s capital.
Last year, there are 572,199 recorded domestic arrival that represents 67% of the total tourist arrival, while foreigners reached 284,645 or 33% of the overall tourist arrival for last year, documents from the City Tourism Office showed.
The peak months for domestic tourists are between February until May each year, and even extending until June. The peak months for foreign visitors are from November to March overall, low months are June to September; foreign tourist arrivals are lowest from to June to August while September is the slowest period for domestic visitors.