The decision to reopen the attractions to more domestic tourists in Puerto Princesa by the Puerto Princesa City (PPC) executives with minimum health and safety standards in place, is supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
“We are keen to discover and develop other tourism products to encourage visitors to stay longer or to entice repeat visits. We have great confidence in the city’s future as there is vast potential to further develop its nature-based, farm, and sun and beach tourism products,” the tourism chief said.
Palawan is known for its UNESCO World Heritage site Underground River, the PPC shares 50 percent of the tourist arrivals in Palawan and the region, making it the biggest contributor to its economic growth. In 2020, Palawan logged a partial number of 157,051 tourist arrivals, 71,889 of which were visits to PPC.
The PPC opened its doors to domestic tourists per city Resolution 29 on March 1. A negative result of the RT-PCR test is required for tourists before they travel with 48 hours validity. The negative test result should be emailed directly by the Department of Health (DOH)-accredited testing facility to the City’s Incident Management Team (IMT).
The use of a StaySafe.ph system as a contact tracing application is mandatory. Also one of the requirements is a confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment and travel agency for guided tours.
Puyat assured the tourism front-liners that they will be included in the vaccination priority, especially the quarantine hotel workers. The DOT will continually conduct skills training programs and will provide technical assistance on product development, marketing, and promotions.
The DOT will also continue to strictly implement health and safety protocols in the whole tourism value chain in PPC. Among others that are included are accommodation establishments, restaurants, and tourist sites.
The tourism chief added that as mandated under the Bayanihan 2, the DOT and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have helped displaced tourism workers through the Cash Assistance Program. The DOT Region 4B has endorsed a total of 20,621 members/ workers in the region to date.
“6,846 workers in Palawan have received assistance amounting to P34,230,000 through the program. We are hopeful that more Palaweños can benefit from the program. We have a few beneficiaries here with us today; thank you for the trust you have placed in the DOT as we continue to seek ways to help everyone through this difficult time,” Puyat stressed.