Cowrie Island, one of the prime tourist destination in Puerto Princesa City.

Puerto Princesa’s tourism stakeholders are once more urging the city government to open doors to domestic tourists, with adequate health safety measures in place.

Assistant city tourism officer Toto Alvior said this was the output from a multi-sectoral stakeholder meeting held on March 5. The meeting was attended by members of the private sector and leaders of Community-Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites.

“May draft na ng executive order finalizing the guidelines for tourists. Inaantay na lang na pirmahan ni mayor (Lucilo Bayron),” Alvior said in a series of interviews.

“Ang target talaga namin is March 15, pero gusto talaga naming na mahabol naming ‘yong Holy Week,” he added.

Alvior said that tourists will need to download the StaySafe.PH mobile app to comply with contact tracing requirements and the S-PaSS app for their booking confirmation details. 

Tourists also need to secure a negative RT-PCR test result. They will also be required to arrange their trip with an accredited travel agency.

“Kahit individual siya, basta susundin ang mga protocols. Hindi puwedeng walk-in or DIY (do-it-yourself) tours. Ang travel agency kasi ang magsisilbing accountability nila,” said Alvior.

He added that there will be other protocols that will be based on the standards of the Department of Tourism (DOT) but was unsure if they will be following the protocols of other tourist destinations in Palawan, such as Coron and El Nido. The two municipalities have opened their doors to domestic tourism while following stringent health protocols. Both towns require incoming tourists to secure a negative RT-PCR test (swab or saliva), a booking confirmation with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CATO) accredited accommodation, and an itinerary.

The city previously reopened the local industry in early December 2020 to Palawan-only tourists. Caravans and other promotional activities were held to promote local sites such as the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), Cowrie Island, Honda Bay, and Baker’s Hill. 

Travel protocols have also relaxed after city health officials announced that there would be no more mandatory quarantine and documentary requirements for inbound travelers.