Puerto Princesa City, Palawan reopens to domestic tourists

Awarding of DOT-DOLE certificates to beneficiaries of the Cash Assistance Program. (L-R). OIC Assistant Secretary and concurrent DOT Region 4B Director Cristopher Morales, beneficiary, DOT Secretary Puyat, PPC Vice Mayor Socrates and PPC Councilor Matthew Mendoza. I DOT Photo

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan — Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat supports the decision of Puerto Princesa City (PPC) executives to reopen its attractions to more domestic tourists with minimum health and safety standards in place.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expresses her support for the reopening of PPC during her opening remarks. I DOT Photo

“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.

On 01 March, PPC reopened to domestic tourists per city Resolution 29. Tourists are required to take the RT-PCR test before 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). Also required is a confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment and travel agency for guided tours. The use of StaySafe.ph system as a contact tracing application is likewise mandatory.

Puyat assured that tourism frontliners will be included in the vaccination priority, particularly the quarantine hotel workers. The DOT will continue to provide technical assistance on product development, marketing and promotions, and to conduct skills training programs.

The DOT will also continue setting the seal on the health and safety protocols in the whole tourism value chain in PPC, including accommodation establishments, restaurants, and tourist sites, among others. As of 15 February, DOT Region 4B has accredited 73 tourism establishments and service providers in the city, the majority of which are tour guides.

Press conference panelists. (L-R) Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez, DOT Secretary Puyat, and PPC Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates. I DOT Photo

The tourism chief added that the DOT and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have aided displaced tourism workers through the Cash Assistance Program, as mandated under the Bayanihan 2. As of 02 March, 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 enthused.

Known for its UNESCO World Heritage site Underground River, PPC shares 50 percent of the tourist arrivals in Palawan and in 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.

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