Puerto Princesa: Paradise Regained

The Royal Treatment at Puerto Princesa

With strict safety standards in place, Puerto Princesa is ready to welcome visitors once more. The Covid-19 pandemic has immobilized the heavily urbanized city and tourism destination in recent years, followed by Typhoon Odette. However, it is on the mend—-as gloriously as its beautiful, romantic, and gastronomic attractions.

“Tourism, together with agriculture, is the lifeblood of Puerto Princesa.” Tourism benefits around 15,000 persons directly or indirectly. Most recent construction and development projects are tied to tourism in some way: hotel construction, parks, cruise-ship ports, street lights, highways, and so on. Unfortunately, some of these have been put on hold since the outbreak,” says local tourism officer Demetrio “Toto” Alvior Jr.

The Royal Connection

Puerto Princesa, the capital of picture-perfect Palawan, stretches for 106 kilometers along 253,982 hectares of stunning coasts. Because of its strategic geographic location, it has enough depth to accommodate ships of various kinds, earning it the title of “Princess of Ports,” or “Puerto Princesa” in Spanish.

Puerto Princesa is without a doubt one of the country’s most enjoyable destinations. A popular vacation spot for tourists, beachgoers, and hikers; a thriving business center with a rural attractiveness; a provincial ambiance with modern conveniences; and a clean and green city known for its beautiful forests, pure air, and frontier character.

Rising Above Covid-19

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020, the city of Puerto Princesa has been battling to get back on its feet. Hundreds of tourism-related firms have closed due to a shortage of tourists, leaving thousands of people unemployed.

“The public-health problem led them to seek new sources of income,” Mr. Alvior explains, “which was made more difficult by the restrictions on movement imposed by successive lockdowns.” “The variable number of Covid cases, which impacts the determination of quarantine requirements and national government intervention measures, is one cause in low visitor arrivals.”

Today, Puerto Princesa is witnessing record low economic losses, losing roughly P5 billion per year from potential visitor receipts during the last two years.

Mr. Alvior is cautiously optimistic, saying, “The City Tourism Department has been boosting its social media campaigns to encourage local tourists to visit local attractions in a bid to generate much-needed earnings to the ailing tourism sector.” “In the City Tourism Department, we have one major wish: to prioritize relief for the Typhoon Odette-affected tourism economy here.”

The goal is to restore the city’s reputation as an eco-tourism hotspot. “Our 2022 targets include the complete repair of all tourist destinations damaged by Typhoon Odette, such as the cruise-ship port and other man-made tourist attractions.” Puerto Princesa will be promoted widely, extensively, and aggressively to the local and worldwide markets.”

The Last Frontier

There are numerous tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa. However, many visitors to the city prioritize the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The city attracts a significant number of travelers as the starting point for visiting the world-famous Tubbataha Reef.

“Since the Covid-19 breakout, we have never stopped hoping for a brighter future. This year, 2022, is no exception. And, while a full recovery is our goal, we cannot afford to be negligent when taking large moves. As we gain a better understanding of the gravity of the situation, we recognize that our actions must be in line with the larger picture, such as the national crisis,” Mr. Alvior explains.

Since February 10, the city has been gladly welcome more visitors again, in the hopes of quickly returning to pre-pandemic levels. The tourism department collaborates with the private sector on this effort.

“While the government is the state’s administrator, the private sector is its lifeblood.” Mr. Alvior claims that “the government and the private sector are two inseparable variables for Puerto Princesa to grow and, more significantly, recover.” “Enabling and supporting the private sector to preserve or continue business operations is critical to recovery.” Apart from government entities, the collective influence of small-business operations is the city’s most important partner.”

Although Puerto Princesa is known as “The Last Frontier,” the city’s tourism department is certain that it will always be a top destination for visitors.

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