(File photo)

The provincial government of Palawan has estimated last year’s tourist arrival at around 1.6 million.

Maribel Buni, provincial tourism officer, said they are still validating the final arrival figures but are confident of realizing their target growth of 10 to 15 percent from the previous year.

“Hopefully, we can generate as high as 1.6 million [in 2018]. Nag-target lang tayo ng 10 to 15 percent increase although ang talagang instruction sa atin is to raise the arrivals by three million in the next five years (We only targeted 10 to 15 percent increase although the instruction to us is to raise the arrivals by three million in the next five years),” Buñi said.

In 2017, Palawan had 1,498, 848 tourist arrivals, she said.

Based on the formulated tourism roadmap, the provincial government will focus on three strategic directions which are promotion, improvement of tourism facility and collaborative efforts from different agencies.

The province also targets to boost the tourism industry through systematic and inclusiveness.

In addition, Board Member Roseller Pineda, chair of the committee on cultural heritage and tourism development, said the community should also participate in tourism development in the province.

He said that communities have a big role in tourism such in terms of livestock raising to supply the major destinations’ demand.

“Kung naniniwala tayo na dapat ma-involve at ma-empower ang community ay dapat talaga masama at ma-involve sila (If we believe that there is a need to involve communities, then they should be empowered so they can be involved),” said Pineda.