This year’s Tourism Month celebration is focused on green investment, a strategy that the United Nations World Tourism Organization conceptualized to encourage more entrepreneurs to invest in green tourism like innovation entrepreneurship and digital transformation.

The concept is a strategy where the celebration leaned its theme “Tourism and Green Investment,” City Tourism Officer Demetrio Alvior said during the opening of the celebration at the Activity Center of SM City Puerto Princesa on Tuesday, September 5.

“The green investment is also focused on minimizing the carbon dioxide emission. This includes investment on people, talents and tourism workers or human capital development,” Alvior said.

Alvior also reiterated the direction that the city government is gearing up which is to become the destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition) tourism, with conversion of the Sta. Lucia Environmental Estate to a Tourism Enterprize Zone in mind and creating the area as the city’s tourism hub.

“That’s why the city started to investment in the needs of MICE like large convention centers so that we can invite not only national but international conventions,” he explained.

Councilor Patrick Hagedorn said he was pleased to see the city’s tourism industry recovering after the COVID-19 outbreak.

“After the pandemic and typhoon Odette, doon natin na-realize that the lifeblood of Puerto Princesa is definitely tourism dahil talagang bumagsak lahat. But now I’m so happy na unti-unti na tayong bumabangon, siguro nasa 80 percent na tayo,” Hagedorn said.

He also took note of the return of cruise ships to the city and the once again increasing number of flights.

“I was talking to sir Toto and he told me that we now have 16-18 flights [a day] and that is proof that tourism is definitely blooming in the city of Puerto Princesa. They (tourists) may not be staying in the city for long, they are going to El Nido, but dadaan pa rin sa Puerto Princesa at gagastos pa rin dito, buhay pa rin ang ekonomiya natin,” he said.

But with the cruise ship tourism still waiting to reach its peak with the completion of the cruise ship port taking about two years, Alvior said the city is also preparing for other major tourism activities.

We have the upcoming Subaraw Festival and the Ironman challenge, and also we will be hosting the International Dragonboat race for the first time this November,” Alvior said.