El NIDO, Palawan — The upscale El Nido Resorts said Tuesday it recently completed a successful opening “dry run” and will be ready to receive tourists once allowed by the government to partially open.
Mariglo Laririt, Ten Knots Development, Inc. director for sustainability, told Palawan News on Tuesday they had a smooth simulation of tour operation on Friday (July 17), which was observed by officials of the municipal government led by Mayor Edna Gacot-Lim and members of the local business community.
The dry run was an initiative of tourism secretary Berna Puyat and the provincial government as an initial step towards reopening northern Palawan’s tourist attractions under a “new normal” condition.
Laririt said they are expecting Secretary Puyat to return to El Nido to further review the plan to gradually reopen the El Nido Resorts.
Laririt said that as part of the dry run, they strictly followed the DOT secretary’s guidelines.
“Upon arrival at the airport, the guests will head straight to the island resorts and then back to the airport to fly out. We will stick to this routine until condition change,” Laririt told Palawan News.
During the trial run, Laririt said they brought their guests to their usual sites while ensuring strict observance of health protocols including physical distancing.
“Our staff who are traveling with the guests will wear appropriate PPE. Also, 90% of our staff are locals from Palawan, so naturally, makakahalubilo sila ng guests namin,” Laririt added.
El Nido Chamber of Commerce Internal Vice President Belle Florendo, who observed the trial run of El Nido Resorts, observed that the process was hard and promises to be expensive.
“If you really want to operate, you really need to invest in additional safety expert personnel, equipment and gadgets to make sure that safety of everybody will be prioritized,” Florendo told Palawan News.
Emergency Operations Manager Edgardo Sabenacio, who was with the observer’s group during the dry run, described El Nido Resorts’ operation as “holistic.”
“It was very holistic, from ground details to the propriety of handling the situation and the core adherence not just to the practice of health and safety measures, but to the goal of bringing out trust, confidence, and security,” Sabenacio said.
Some locals who spoke to Palawan News said they disagree with the plan to reopen their tourism and expressed concern about the health risk associated with the reopening.
“Making economy stable by putting people’s lives at risk shall never be an option,” a local business owner who asked not to be identified told Palawan News.