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Palawan tourism stakeholders hold meeting to discuss plans to revitalize industry

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Several tourism stakeholders in Palawan have convened recently to discuss its plan to revitalize the local tourism industry in the province amid the lingering threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

“In its bid to put the tourism industry back in the driver’s seat of the local economy, the tourism stakeholders of Palawan held a conference on the first week of July 2020 in the picturesque town of El Nido to map out strategies in revitalizing the industry after it was crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Capitol said.

The Palawan Capitol noted that the llocal tourism industry is the “main engine that pumps up life to the economy” of the province for decades now.

“From its meager share of tourist arrivals in back in the 90s, the province’s tourist arrivals had ballooned to hundred thousandths and eventually hit the 1.5 million plus arrivals last year,” said the Capitol.

According to the province, gross tourism receipts of the Palawan in 2019 is pegged at P86 billion pesos.

“The industry is basking in the sun in the year 2020 with a very promising outlook. Back in March as summer looms near, everybody become busy gearing up for the ‘peak season’,” it said.

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the declaration of the National Health Emergency, the whole country was put under a lockdown.

As such, travel restrictions were strictly imposed in all corners of the archipelago, which grounded foreign and domestic travel at a standstill. As a result, the Philippine tourism industry was “scuttled to the ground almost lifeless.”

“Cancellation of bookings and long-planned events resulted to unimaginable losses in the industry. Hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and other tourism-related establishments and services ceased their operations. The local tourism revenues dropped to a nil,” said the province.

Together with Department of Tourism (DOT) led by Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the stakeholders attended the Consultation Meeting called up by the DOT.

Local Chief Executives, accompanied by their respective Municipal Tourism Officers laid out their plans outlining their strategies and timelines towards reopening their localities to tourism activities and services.

Provincial Tourism Officer Maribel Buñi in one of her media interviews said “the reopening of the local tourism industry would be gradual. It does not mean that we will be reopening it on the next day right after the meeting. We will see to it that everything is carefully planned for including the implementation and observance of health protocols on COVID-19 so that we can ensure the safety and well-being of our visitors as well as the locals”.