The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) recently bagged two major honors from the 1st Philippine Tourism Industry Award, the first-award giving event for general tourism organized by the United Stars Events and Exhibitions Corporation (USEEC).
PPUR spokesperson Jan Elmer Badilla said the awards were received Tuesday by Protected Area Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang during an awarding ceremony held at the Okada Manila Hotel.
The awards were -for “Best Tourism Destination” and “Best Eco-Tourism Destination”.
“More than the additional accolade, receiving these awards means we have to continue to rise up to the challenge of keeping the balance of sustainable tourism, and protection and conservation of the environment,” Badilla stated.
The Philippine Tourism Industry Awards recognizes the important impacts and contributions not only of organizations and business establishments to the country’s general tourism activities but also dedicated personalities, according to Badilla.
“This award-giving event wants to set the highest standard in promoting the Philippines’ various tourism sites, and show people all over the world that tourism is not all about destinations but how the locals care for their environment through sustainable development, and how we take care of our visitors,” he said.
Badilla also noted that the awards came as the park is set to hold a PPUR Day on November 11 which also commemorates its designation as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
As part of the PPUR Day celebration, Badilla said two representatives from its sister tourism destination Jeju Island, South Korea, are in Puerto Princesa as well to participate in a tourism fair that hopes to bring more visitors to both sites.
Jeju Island Tourism Research Office (TRO) of the Jeju Tourism Organization (JTO) head Song So Yi and his assistant, Alfie Jo, are in the city to promote the most popular island destination off the coast of the Korean Peninsula to Palaweños.
“Their participation in the tourism fair is because of our sisterhood with Jeju as a city and as a World Heritage Site like PPUR. We also invited them to share their culture with us since both have commonalities,” he said.
The tourism fair will allow Palaweños to try the Hanbok costume experience, or the traditional Korean dress characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets.
“They have brought with them Korean food samples and sweets that we can try,” Badilla said, adding the JTO has helped the PPUR “a lot in terms of promotion.”
South Korea remains in the top three countries whose citizens visit the PPUR every year.