El Nido (File photo by Celeste Anna Formoso)

A provincial legislator is pressing for a revision of the tourism master plan in Palawan to keep up with emerging trends and handle developing issues.

According to board member Nieves Rosento, as the tourism business grows, challenges develop that must be dealt with.

Rosento outlined various difficulties confronting the town of El Nido, including managing waste, pollution control, and the maintenance of protected areas where visitor attractions are located.

She also stated that concerns such as medical services, clean water, basic commodity pricing, peace and order, and tourism facilities such as airports, seaports, and tourism terminals must be tackled and solved.

Government tourism frontliners’ readiness, as well as private sector assistance such as tax breaks and other incentives, she added, must be prioritized.

“Along with the growth of tourism, problems arise and we need to address this,” Rosento said in a privilege speech she delivered during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session on Tuesday.

“It’s about time that we look into the importance of a tangible tourism master plan. And if we already have one, [maybe] we need to revise it to make it climate-resilient and sustainable,” she explained.

Rosento added that there is a need to promote other tourism destinations in the province to decongest established sites and that some local government units (LGUs) have begun to market their communities.

“While new destinations are growing, our promotion remains to be Palawan that caters to all the tourism. There is a need to make a study on the tourism of the whole province, particularly new destinations in order to avoid potential problems with the growing tourist arrivals,” she said.

She further stated that LGUs should be encouraged to also implement their own tourism masterplans and for the province to appropriate funds in the next annual investment plan.

Meanwhile, Board Member Roseller Pineda who chairs the Committee on Tourism said the Provincial Tourism Ordinance is currently being studied by the committee for possible amendments.

He also explained that the proposal is timely considering that the province is aiming to hit 5 million tourist arrivals, noting that suggestions for other tourism products are also being considered.

“We need to amend our tourism ordinance and we are encouraging our tourism office not to concentrate only on our white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. We are also considering sports, food tourism, medical tourism among others,” Pineda said.

Board Member Winston Arzaga on the other hand said they have asked the Provincial Tourism Office to come up with new events and attractions for the province to attract more tourists.

“We need to have a very good product to sell, which we have a lot which can be packaged,” Arzaga said.

“We need a dynamic tourism structure or organization that will see to it and coordinate efforts of the municipalities. There’s a need for somebody to orchestrate this. What we need now is a good product development staff, to be supported by people with marketing savvy in tourism sector,” he added.

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