The City Tourism Office (CTO) has noted a steady rise in tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa City since June 26 due to direct international flights coming in from South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
City Tourism Promotions and Marketing Divisions officer-in-charge Michie Meneses said the influx of various Asian nationalities is a good indication for the tourism industry in Puerto Princesa City.
She said that the city’s two main attractions, the Underground River (PPUR) and Honda Bay, are currently fully-booked.
“Iyong iba’t-ibang mga nationalities na direct na nakakapasok dito sa atin ay magandang indikasyon ‘yan sa ating lahat na ‘yong ating turismo ay mas lumalago. Talagang lahat ng mga destinasyon natin ay fully-booked ‘yan. ‘Yong Underground River natin, ‘yong Honda Bay sobrang dami talaga ng mga tao na pumupunta,” Meneses said.
Demetrio Alvior Jr., assistant city tourism officer, said in 2017, Taiwanese visitors topped the list of foreign guests who visited the city, followed by Americans, Chinese, Koreans, and British.
This year, however, Alvior said the trend may change with either Koreans or Chinese dominating foreign arrivals.
“Mag-dominate na ‘yan silang mga Chinese and Koreans kasi meron tayong anim na direct flights ngayon,” he told Palawan News.
He said that in 2016 US nationals topped the list of foreign arrivals but are expected to slide to only fourth this year.
Tourist arrival in Puerto Princesa reached over 1 million in 2017 with 664,438 domestic tourists and 366,114 foreigners.
He added they have observed a 35 percent increase in tourist arrivals since the direct flights from China and Taiwan.
Meneses further said the growth in the number of tourist arrivals has an impact on the stability of employment of around 4,000 people working in the tourism industry.
“Lahat ng mga nasa tourism industry affected ‘yan, unang-una. Economically speaking ‘yong dumadami nating mga turista, hindi lang ‘yong Koreans, malaki ‘yong maitutulong nila sa ating ekonomiya, more than 4,000 ‘yong mga manggagawa sa tourism industry mula sa mga tour guides, mga travel operators, hanggang sa pinakaliit-liitan,” she said.
While the CTO is still in the process of gathering latest statistics, she emphasized their observations have been positive since June.
Meneses said the CTO has just approved re-designed travel packages which will be soon be offered to travelers to make them stay long in Puerto Princesa.
She said this was accomplished and approved by the City Tourism Council (CTC) last Friday, July 20, and is currently undergoing more polishing.
“Ina-address na ‘yan ng City Tourism ngayon. Gumawa tayo ng mga tour packages, same old destinations, but bago ang bundle. More or less, one of these days, officially naming ire-release ‘yan, nasa ilang process nalang kami. Gusto ko lang ipaalam na aprubado na ‘yong tour packages na ‘yan ng Puerto Princesa sa City Tourism Council. In-approve na ‘yan last Friday sa kanilang pag-convene, so meron na lang kaming pino-polish, kasi after that ipapasa na natin sa Sangguniang Panlungsod to be officially to become a resolution or ordinance,” she explained.
She also said they are working on renewing and restructuring old tourist destinations, as well as developing new ones, in order to cater to the continuous upward flow of the tourists in the city.
“Ngayon naman, ongoing na rin ‘yong mga dini-develop at binubuhay pa nating mga tourist destinations,” she said.