Businessmen from CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Bicol Regions started to convene for a 2-day South Luzon Area Business Conference (SOLABC) on April 25-26, 2019, in Puerto Princesa City.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has included Palawan on the list of Top 5 destinations in the country it will help to have “no less than two million tourists” this year until 2020.

Dr. Samie Lim, director for tourism, retail, and franchise of the PCCI, told Palawan News on Thursday they are particularly targeting to support El Nido, Coron, San Vicente, Port Barton, Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, and Puerto Princesa City.

Lim was in Palawan to attend the “Investour Program” of the PCCI, said to be the largest business organization in the country.

 “We’ve been going to El Nido, and San Vicente is new. Since San Vicente airport opened, I took a flight last week lang. Palawan can get no less than two million tourists. To me, I look at it as if it was Boracay which was able to get two million. Palawan is even much better than ano (Boracay),” Lim said.

Also in the PCCI’s Top 5 destinations are Panglao in Bohol, Mactan Island in Cebu, Clark in Pampanga and Subic in Zambales, and the Samal Island in Davao.

He said they will visit these places to teach a tourism primer with a formula that is now being used worldwide.

“Itong sinasabing  mayayaman  na tao, may property, naghihintay ng investment. That is why PCCI conducts Investour, [because] we want to identify the landowners and may mga pera to get together… PCCI is a platform weaving people together,” “Lim said.

He added it is important to harness investment opportunities in Palawan to sustain its current investors and also attract additional businesses willing to venture and fund projects.

Palawan should “focus a bit more” on the mid-market rather than small ones, Lim pointed out.

More profit, he said, can help make a destination allot higher funds for its maintenance and sustainability.

 “Target clearly what you want. My wish for Palawan is to focus a bit more on the mid-market or mid-high. Do not charge fifty pesos for the island [tour],” he added.

He said it was in 2008 when the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development Philippines (LGSP-LED) Project of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) identified 40 investment areas of the country that included Palawan.

Lim also said that based on the National Tourism Development Plan of 2016 to 2022 of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) there are 97 areas in the country identified for tourism development.

“They showed the 97 cities and provinces that they want to promote. Bakit naging 97? In short, they can say no to anybody. That is why the money that they have is divided into 97 different areas. So, whoever is the one that complains the most or can justify its say, you can generate employment and income, and will get (be) their priority,” he said.

Palawan should be aggressive and seek help from the DOT,  Lim said.