Board Member Juan Antonio Alvarez during the media interview Tuesday requesting airline companies to increase direct flights to Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA). PN photo

The provincial board has urged airline companies to increase direct domestic flights from other provinces to Palawan and resume direct international flights from countries like Hong Kong and South Korea.

In a resolution he wrote, board member Juan Antonio Alvarez said that this is due to the fact that tourism in the province is currently recovering from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that since there are few airline alternatives, many tourists, particularly international visitors, have trouble finding flights to Palawan.

“Napapanahon na talaga na ibalik ang mga flights [kagaya dati] sa pre-pandemic flights natin, medyo normal [naman] na. Dumadami na ang mga banyaga na pumupunta dito, mga turista, let us take this opportunity na sa Palawan sila pumunta. Padaliin natin sa kanila ang pagpunta sa Palawan,” he said.

He also mentioned how the high cost of airline transfers deters Palaweños from visiting other important cities and regions.

Alvarez also emphasized the need to resume direct flights that had been halted because of the pandemic between Hong Kong and South Korea.

“Ang gusto ko rin sana na maibalik nila ay ang mga international flights na napakagandang opportunity to boost our economy,” Alvarez said.

Although he agrees that the airlines have the last word, Alvarez believes that they will listen to the passengers’ demands.

“The decision will always come from the airlines, dahil sila naman ang [magde-desisyon]. Pero ang mga turista ay ayaw nila ng maraming dinadaanan, kung sa Davao sila, bababa pa ng Manila then Puerto, another set of tickets ‘yon na sana dito na nila ginagastos sa lalawigan natin,” Alvarez also said.

“Nakatulong pa sila sa ekonomiya sa larangan ng turismo [kung dito na nila ginagastos ‘yong pambili nila ng ticket from connecting flights],” he added.