El Nido's Hidden Beach (Photo courtesy of Flight Network/File photo)

Palawan province experienced an 87.47% increase in tourist arrivals in 2023, attracting 1,527,159 visitors, a significant rise from the 814,621 tourists recorded in 2022.

Maribel Buñi, head of the Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Office (PTPDO), stated on Thursday that, according to their data, 873,592 of the tourists were domestic and local visitors, while 653,567 were international travelers.

The consistent rise in tourist arrivals in the province has correspondingly boosted tourism income, with earnings escalating to ₱57.2 billion in 2023, a substantial increase from ₱30.5 billion in 2022.

“In general, 2023 was a productive year for the province’s tourism industry. But this does not mean that those in the industry have to be complacent,” she said.

El Nido led the municipalities in Palawan with the highest number of tourists, followed closely by Coron. San Vicente ranked third in attracting visitors, with Brooke’s Point and Linapacan coming in fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of tourist arrivals.

The top five foreign markets for tourism in are the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

Tourism is a key focus for the provincial government under the leadership of Governor Dennis Socrates, and is considered as a major driver of economic growth.

Buñi stated that, while 2023 marked a significant success, there is still a need for tourism stakeholders in the province to enhance and expand their offerings, implement government policies effectively, and employ more impactful marketing strategies.

“Continuous product development, policy implementation, promotions and marketing must be must be made to ensure not just touristic experience for travelers but also return visits,” said Buñi.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.