Photo by Mia Felipe

Palawan has registered a total guest arrival of 40,864 from January to April this year, showing a negative 95 percent growth rate compared to the same period in 2019 which was 809,536.

A copy of a comparison of regional distribution of travelers provided by Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco, the province’s information officer, stated 36,003 Filipinos and 4,851 overseas visitors made up the total.

Unlike in 2019, when 1,744 overseas Filipinos visited the province during the same period, none did so this year from January to the present.

Although there may still be more arrivals to be recorded since April is not yet over, the number of visitors on the provincial tourism database as of now has only reached 7,076 guests, a negative growth rate of 97 percent when compared to the 206,850 arrivals in 2019.

The data said the visitors’ destinations were Coron, El Nido, Culion, San Vicente, Bataraza, and Narra.

Kayangan Lake in Coron. (Photo by Japs Daco)

El Nido had the highest number of domestic and international visitors from January to April at 4,281, although this is still down 86 percent from the 31,561 guests it had in the same period in 2019. Coron had 1,562 visitors, compared to 48,419 in 2019, which is a decrease of 97 percent.

“Despite the lower number of tourist arrivals compared to the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows that there is steady climb rate of tourist here in our province and concluding that the tourism industry is recovering and leading to reopening of jobs, livelihood, hotels, and businesses, both small and large scale,” Cojamco told Palawan News on Thursday.

He said that as part of the recovery from the pandemic, the province was able to boost the promotion of Palawan tourism by giving ongoing support in the form of projects that will assist the sector in reopening to domestic and international travelers.

Cojamco added that tourism frontliners are being prioritized in vaccination centers to protect them against COVID-19, and that the provincial government also produces and does its best to provide high quality projects that benefit the citizenry and will help in conserving the last frontier of the country.

“The province is assisting in the promotion not only locally but also globally, such as in t ourism expos, which showcase the various delicacies and trademarks available in each municipality,” he said.

He said the recently ended Condé Nast Traveler 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards, in which Palawan was named the 2nd World’s Best Island for Beaches, also aided in the tourism recovery in the province.

“We are hoping that this quarantine controls wouldn’t be back again. We are asking everyone to continue following the minimum health protocols, wearing face mask, using alcohol, and to have their jabs to prevent the spread of the virus. We are looking forward to more tourist arrivals but with concern to COVID-19 cases and to environment,” Cojamco said.