Australian ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said Thursday that he believes Palawan has the right kind of tourism products for the Australian market, and that more Australians should visit Palawan after pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
In a meeting with Palawan media, Robinson stated that in his meeting with provincial government officials, they discussed how Australian citizens can help in Palawan’s tourism recovery plan.
“I really do believe that the Philippines, in particular Palawan, has got real attractions for Australians. Many Australians travel across Southeast Asia, but they think more about Bali, then they go there. Bali is wonderful and lovely, but why don’t they think more about the destinations here, because look at what you have got here,” said Robinson.
“We need to publicize Palawan better than we do now in Australia to help Australians come here,” he added.
Robinson stated that Palawan has plenty of improved infrastructure as well, such as new hotels and an international airport. When asked if direct flights from Puerto Princesa to Australia were discussed, he explained that this will depend mostly on local airline companies.
“We touched upon that. There are lots involved in flights. I’ve been in talks with local airlines on organizing more flights from Australia to the Philippines. We’ll have to see what the airlines want to do, but all airlines have had it tough because of the pandemic,” he explained.
According to Robinson, this is his first visit to Palawan. He arrived on Wednesday and first met with Puerto Princesa City mayor Lucilo Bayron, then met with former scholars of the Australian Awards, a grant program for partner countries. On Thursday morning, Robinson visited the provincial capitol building and met with lawmakers Gil Acosta, Jr. and Cyrille Abueg-Zaldivar.
He also met with the civic group Roots of Health, a grantee of the Australian government. Robinson also met with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). Robinson also met with officials of the Western Command (WESCOM) to discuss the current situation of the West Philippine Sea.
Robinson and his team will leave Palawan on Friday after meeting with officials of the Philippine Coast Guard.