The local tourism office is looking into opening Puerto Princesa to more international flights this year in its bid to boost economic recovery.
City Tourism Department (CTD) chief Demetrio Alvior Jr. told Palawan News they are currently exploring the possibility of bringing tourists from Jeju Island, South Korea via Taipei City, Taiwan, which has flights to Puerto Princesa every Wednesday and Sunday.
Another group is also proposing an Incheon-Puerto Princesa flight, and the CTD has already sent brochures and video presentations that may assist with the decision.
“Inaayos namin yong Jeju-Taipei-Puerto Princesa kasi may direct flight ang Jeju to Taipei. Kung idudugtong natin sa Puerto Princesa, mawawala na yong visa kapag pumunta ka ng Jeju. Yon ang maganda,” Alvior said.
“May kausap din ako na—ang dami ko nang pinadala na mga brochures and AVP—sa Incheon naman. Kasi desidido talaga, at commercial flight itong sa Incheon na parang 3x a week ang gusto niya,” he added.
They are also evaluating the possibility of a new air link from Thailand, which could create a local tourism market, and resuming direct flights to Malaysia.
Previously, Mayor Lucilo Bayron said Thailand expressed interest in establishing direct flights to the city.
According to Bayron, Ambassador Thanatip Upatising of Thailand to the Philippines approached him in order to convey the interest of his government.
“Mayroon din tayong wino-workout, at nagpapatulong tayo sa Department of Tourism (DOT), yong sa Malaysia, at saka yong Thailand na kinausap din si mayor. Interested din sila na magkaroon ng flight dito sa Puerto Princesa,” Alvior said.
On the other hand, plans to resume direct flights from Hong Kong, which were supposed to resume in November 2022, have been postponed due to a new upsurge of COVID-19 cases in nearby China.
China has lifted quarantine restrictions for all international visitors, bringing an end to about three years of self-imposed isolation. This is the situation now, despite the fact that coronavirus cases have been surging in recent months, based on published reports.
“Ang Hong Kong natin dapat may commercial flight tayo noong November, di ba? Unfortunately, medyo unstable sa China, yong COVID-19 cases nila up and down din. Nag-alangan yong agent at pinapakalma niya pa yong situation,” Alvior explained.
Before the end of 2022, Tiger Asia resumed its twice-weekly flight from Taiwan to the city, bringing in approximately 180 passengers.
Alvior stated that the resumption has not encountered any problems thus far.