Photo by CAAP AREA IV Puerto Princesa International Airport

It’s official. The long wait is over. Puerto Princesa City is opening its doors to fully vaccinated domestic tourists beginning December 8th, provided that they are staying only for a maximum of four days and three nights.

At a meeting on Monday, the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) finally approved a tourism bubble setup for fully-vaccinated tourists, a move that has been pushed by most tourism establishments.

Local tourism establishment owners and leaders initially called for a dry run for a tourism bubble setup to be done in December, saying that the local tourism industry could not rely on Palawan-based tourists alone for recovery. Mayor Lucilo Bayron has also previously stated that outside tourists would most likely be allowed to enter the city by April this year.

According to city IATF spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap, several measures have also been adapted to accommodate tourism arrivals in December. These include changing the curfew hours from 2AM to 4AM and increasing the number of passengers who can board flights to Puerto Princesa.

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“The maximum capacity of 80 passengers per flight is now increased to 160 passengers per flight to accommodate tourists,” Yap said in a live briefing on Tuesday.

He clarified that flights will still be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Puerto Princesa City Airport.

Travel rules for domestic tourists include securing a negative antigen test 24-hours prior to their arrival, coordinating their arrival and travel itineraries with the City Tourism Office, and only staying in accommodations certified and authorized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the City Tourism Office.

Official tourism bubble guidelines have yet to be released by the city government. In principle, it means that tourists can only move in certain areas of a destination with little contact with locals to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Other Palawan towns, such as El Nido, Coron, Busuanga, and San Vicente, use a point-to-point (P2P) system to prevent interactions between locals and tourists.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.