Puerto Princesa Reopens To Tourists, Coron Pushes Sustainable Tourism
Puerto Princesa has started accepting local tourists this month.
After a year of hiatus due to the pandemic, the local executives has decided to open Puerto Princesa’s gates to domestic tourists. Though the island was initially opened last December 8, it was meant for Palaweños alone.
This move by the local government both aims to help tourism workers get back on their feet and permit tourists to appreciate the island once again.
“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,” Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette-Puyat said.
Safety and Health Protocols
Like any other destinations that opened recently, the coastal city remains cautious and mindful about the pandemic. In which, minimum health and safety standards are followed strictly.
RT-PCR test is required before the travel and it should have 48 hours validity. The (negative) result must come from one of the Department of Health’s (DOH) accredited testing facilities and sent to the City’s Incident Management Team (IMT).
In addition to testing, only confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited establishment is allowed. And in order to minimize and control the spread of the virus, tourists are required to register on StaySafe.ph for contact tracing.
Meanwhile, Puyat assured tourism workers that they will be included in the vaccination priority list.
Last February, DOT Region 4-B has accredited 73 tourism establishments and service providers in Puerto Princesa City, the majority of which are tour guides.
Coron Pushes Sustainable Tourism
The tourism department expresses support for Coron’s sustainable tourism, hoping it will help attract more tourists.
“Giving our recovery plans for Coron a major boost is the Sustainable Tourism Development Project or STDP, which will be launched this year and will run throughout 2026,” Sec. Puyat said, with the hopes that the initiative and leadership of Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., local industry captains, and community beacons will provide the impetus for this high-impact project.
Smith Coral Garden/IMAGE by Philippine Primer
The STDP is an initiative under DOT’s Transforming Communities Towards Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST) program.
This program, which is a partnership between the provincial government of Palawan, the municipalities of Coron and El Nido, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), aims to make these two municipalities’ tourism development inclusive and sustainable.
This initiative is a five-year plan that will begin in this year’s third quarter that targets to improve and develop the urban infrastructure sector, ecosystems, and enterprise area.
“The STDP will help build the capacity of local stakeholders to protect and conserve Coron’s natural beauty and biodiversity and ensure that tourism benefits the local communities,” Puyat added.
The DOT has also conducted rigid inspections and regularly monitors its accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) to ensure that minimum health and safety protocols are enforced properly.
Coron is a top destination for both international and local travelers. In 2019, Palawan welcomed 1,987,605 visitors, 15% or a total of 292,549 of which visited Coron. This tourist hub has attracted 2,900 visitors since it reopened on Dec. 1, 2020.
Source: Philippine News Agency
Written by: Cedie Salido