In an effort to promote tourism that caters to Muslim families who observe Islamic standards, the tourism office in Puerto Princesa will participate in a two-day seminar on Halal-friendly tourism.
Demetrio Alvior, chief of the City Tourism Office (CTO), said further developing Halal tourism in Puerto Princesa will not only significantly improve the lives of Muslim Filipinos, but will also attract more tourists, boosting its tourism-based economy.
He recently participated in a tourist immersion activity organized by the provincial tourism office in Balabac in order to have a better understanding of the culture and traditions of Muslim tourists in hopes of improving the tourism services that Puerto Princesa can offer to them in the near future.
“Isa sa mga ginawa natin doon ay mapag-aralan din yong culture kasi kasama yong Balabac din sa… iisang isla tayo ano… at ano rin yong puwedeng mai-offer nila. Kasi yong tourism officers sa buong Palawan ay binuo para palakasin talaga ang [turismo] sa Palawan,” he said.
“Hindi puwedeng iisang lugar ang nagpro-promote, mas maganda kung lahat ng 23 municipalities and city ay magpro-promote, at dadalhin lahat sa Palawan,” Alvior added.
Alvior acknowledged that Halal is one of the city’s overlooked tourism markets, which should not be the case given that it is a billion dollar industry.
Only a few Muslims are visiting the city, he remarked, if tourist arrivals are to be considered.
“Kasi na-realize natin na wala pala talaga tayong Halal food. Kasi sila very sensitive sa food, very strict, at yan ay nakita natin during noong immersion natin,” he added.
The Balabac visit is also timely because the city has just received the approval of the City Council to construct a Halal slaughterhouse in Barangay Irawan, which may lead to the establishments of Halal restaurants in Puerto Princesa.
Alvior said that today, May 30, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will embark on a two-day Halal seminar to boost Puerto Princesa’s and Palawan’s understanding of the Halal-friendly tourism.
“Kaya nga sabi ko billion dollar business siya — so, kapag nagawa natin yon, madadagdagan yong mga types ng tourists natin,” he added.
Alvior added that as a city that frequently has Asian meetings and welcomes visitors from Muslim nations, especially because of membership to the BIMP-EAGA, it is critical to respect their traditional way of life.