(File photo)

The Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Department (PTPDD) had a record year in 2018 with 1,809,880 tourist arrivals or a 21 percent increase from the year before.

Provincial tourism officer Maribel Buñi said the figure is higher compared to the 1.4 million visitor arrivals recorded in 2017.

She said the increase is attributed to their intensified tourism promotion efforts.

“While we are happy with the increase [and] we have achieved the target, at the back of that overwhelming increase is to see to it that we will comply sa mga related laws and policies [and] that really leads to sustainability and inclusivity,” Buñi said.

She added 1,137,712 or 63 percent of the total number were locals while 664,600 were foreigners.

South Korea brought in the most number of visitor arrivals at 92,706; U.S. nationals with 64,701; China with 63,593; Taiwan with 51,409, and France with 26,286.

United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Australia were also contributors to the foreign market of the province.

Puerto Princesa City also recorded 1.2 million tourists last year.

The province’s major tourist destinations are the towns of Coron, El Nido, and San Vicente.

Buñi said they are targeting around five million tourists in 2030.

“Kakayanin naman ito sa pamamagitan ng patuloy at agressive promotion, pagpapaunlad ng produktong panturismo at pagpapataas ng kalidad ng serbisyo,” she added.

Buñi also added that they are currently conducting an inventory of the Community-Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites and Communities Benefiting Through Tourism (CBTT).

“So if you cannot be a destination, support the destination,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Primary Tourism Enterprises (PTEs) inspected 60 accommodations and travel agencies in southern Palawan.

This is in compliance with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2019-17 under Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009.

Under the law, tourist facilities are required to have rest areas, safety deposit boxes, rooms and ramps for persons with disability (PWD).

Buni said most of those they inspected have complied with necessary documents.

“[Ilan pa sa mga tinitignan dito] ang kanilang compliance sa mga policies related to tourism katulad ng building code, solid waste management act, at environmental laws,” she said.

The same inspection will be conducted in northern Palawan.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.