EDITORIAL: Meeting tourism challenges

There is an evident boom on tourism in Palawan triggered mainly by the recent closure of Boracay Island. Still, the province’s share of the mainstream tourism market, while anticipated, has exposed the many gaps that hinder long term growth and sustainability of the sector.

The provincial and city government have prompted the tourism sector to prepare, with suggestions such as increasing “homestay” accommodation in order to meet new demands.

Currently, there are now at least 32 incoming commercial flights a day mostly bearing tourists. At least two international flights are expected to add to the airport’s daily load starting June.

Despite this good news, the question which had long been raised in many forums is the readiness of the province to take in these tourists who might be present in major destinations like Underground River in Puerto Princesa City, the beautiful beaches of El Nido and Coron.

The key players of Puerto Princesa’s tourism industry like hotels and travel agencies have been clamoring for government support in infrastructures. There are still unlit streets, dilapidated roads, frequent power outages and the lack of additional places to offer to tourists.

The challenge for the city’s tourism remains — the creation of more destinations that will give tourists value for their money and to entice them to come back and bring more friends. The systematic booking and tourists assistance services remains unresolved.

Puerto Princesa City is a tourism dependent city. It is hard to understand that until now, we still lack the necessary infrastructure, system and readiness to provide the best experience to tourists whom we depend our economy.

We still lack the comprehensive outlook as to the direction we are set to go. We cannot sit and wonder when other provinces are now getting the big pie of the tourism market. A vision coupled with action is what we need this time.

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