Councilor Herbert Dilig, Vice Mayor Ma. Nancy Socrates, Councilor Patrick Hagedorn, City Administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa and City Tourism Officer Demetrio Alvior lead the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Tourism Month 2022 celebration at the Robinson's Mall Palawan.

Puerto Princesa City’s tourism sector continues to move towards full recovery as it gets a big boost with the reopening of tourism month 2022 celebration at the ground floor of Robinson’s Mall Palawan on Friday. Tourism month celebration was put on hold in the last two years because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlighted at the opening day of the month-long celebration is the three-day Community Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) mini trade fair, featuring the different tourism circuits of the city.

With a theme “Rethinking Tourism,” the City Tourism Office is focusing on the revival and recovery of tourism sector which City Tourism Officer Demetrio C. Alvior, Jr. said was “one of the hardest hit in the city because of the economic depression as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.”

“After the trials that we have been through – two years of global pandemic na sinundan ng bagyong Odette na nanalasa sa ating mga tourism destinations, ito tayo ngayon, pilit na bumabangon at alam ko makakabangon tayo. Ang Pilipino ay kilala sa pagiging resilient. This is our ability na kakayanin ang lahat para sa paghanap ng blessings sa gitna ng mga pagsubok sa buhay. Tourism businesses were among the hardest hit by the economic depression as a result of COVID-19,” Alvior said.

“In Puerto Princesa alone, we lost P5.5 annually from potential tourist receipts and 9,000 plus tourism jobs,” he added.

Alvior also expressed optimism that the tourism industry is heading towards its pre-pandemic status with the steady rise of tourist arrivals.

He added that commercial flights have also been increasing while hotels and other accomodations are also recording full bookings. Bulk of tourists compose Local Government Units (LGU) that hold meetings, conferences and benchmarking.
So far, tumataas na ang tourist arrivals natin. Karamihan dyan yung mga meetings, incentives, conferences na usual na dumarating sa atin. Karamihan din dyan ay mga benchmarking ng mga LGU. For the year 2022, the city already has recorded an estimated 120,000 tourist arrivals.

“This year, as we again open our doors to tourism, I am happy to say that we are now averaging 15,000 monthly arrivals of our tourists. And there is a probability to have a commercial flight from Puerto Princesa – Hongkong – Puerto Princesa in November, and for next month, a chartered flight from Puerto Princesa – Taiwan – Puerto Princesa. Also next month, meron na rin tayong cruise ship na darating. So these are hopeful signs of recovery for the tourism industry in Puerto Princesa City,” he stated.

Rethink, rebrand

Vice Mayor Ma. Nancy M. Socrates also said the theme Rethinking Tourism is timely and shows hope for the recovery of the tourism sector of the city.

She said it is about time to rethink and go back to the old ways of the tourism industry.

“Napakagandang pag-isipang muli ang ating turismo, balikan yung ating ginagawa noon in terms of promotion, marketing and other strategies to attract tourists and customers dahil baka yung iba nating ginagawa ay hindi na angkop. Tingnan natin yung ating ang sitwasyon ngayon at baka kailangan na nating palitan yung dati nating ginagawa na hindi na epektibo,” Socrates said.

She also said the tourism frontliners need to find new and innovative ways to promote, to be able to sell their products.

Itong panahong ito, we need to be more creative, we need to be unique in order to attract tourists. All over the Philippines, halos pare-pareho tayo ng pwedeng i-offer. We all have beautiful beaches, culture, food. So kailangan mag-isip tayo na maging kakaiba ang ating io-offer even in terms of our souvenirs. Dapat talaga, magkaroon na tayo ng souvenir products na dito talaga gawa,” she said.

CBST opening

Alvior also said another positive sign is the reopening of different Community Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites in the city, which also opened a three-day mini trade fair.

The CBST Ang opening ng CBST mini trade fair na ito ay patunay lamang na ready na tayo tumanggap ng mga turista. We commend all CBSTs participating in this mini trade fair and taking the extra mile for their success. Being a survivor in the worst chapter of your life due to global pandemic and annual calamity, these experiences made you stronger and much stronger than before, that’s why we believe that this is now the right time to look forward and establish momentum for a better tomorrow,” Alvior said.

Councilor Patrick Alex M. Hagedorn meanwhile said he took notice of the CBSTS which particularly sustained more damages during the onslaught of typhoon Odette in December last year.

Hagedorn, who chairs the Committee on Tourism of the Sangguniang Panlungsod said he will focus on the recovery of CBSTs.

“Noong ako ay napili bilang chairman ng Committee on Tourism, sabi ko ang una kong tututukan ay ang mga CBST dahil sila ang nangangailangan ng tulong. Kaya ang unang una naming ginawa ay inikutan naming ang mga CBST. Hindi pa kami tapos kaya next week mag-iikot kami ulit para mapuntahan lahat at nang makita namin ang mga problema ninyo nang masolusyunan natin,” he said.


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