Tourist arrivals in Palawan seen to hit 600,000

600.000 tourist to Palawan

 

“When I first assumed in 1992, there were only four lonely travel and tour operators in the city. Now there are close to 200 hotels. It has increased by 2,950 percent since 20 years ago,” he said.

Tourist arrivals have swelled from 14,249 in 1992 to 515,148 in 2011, a staggering 3,515 percent jump.

Hagedorn stressed that because the tourism infrastructure and attractions are already in place, tourist inflows to Puerto Princesa City stand to grow to 1.3 million by 2016 and by 2025, arrivals will reach an all-time high of 2.5 million.

Puerto Princesa’s gain has been attributed to the phenomenal success of the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which was named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

“Everything changed when the Puerto Princesa Underground River was declared as one of the new seven wonders of the world,” Hagedorn said.

PPUR won over a number of natural wonders owing to the systematic campaign launched by Hagedorn, with support from President Aquino himself, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Aquino and Hagedorn collaborated in appealing to all Filipinos here and abroad to text or email their votes for PPUR. With more than 30 million text votes registered for PPUR, the site won overwhelmingly.

MANILA, Philippines – Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said they expect tourist arrivals to hit the 600,000 mark before yearend.

“Last year’s tourist arrivals went to a record breaking 515,148, a 60-percent increase from last year. We are really happy about the news. Half are Filipino balikbayans and half are foreigners. Imagine from a few flights in 1992, we now have 123 flights a week, excluding international airports,” Hagedorn told The STAR during a recent visit.

“In fact, we have to stop our advertisements because the airport can’t handle it (passenger arrivals). We have so many flights but we are already addressing the problem,” Hagedorn said.

He said the Puerto Princesa airport would be modernized and renovated to accommodate the surge of tourists.

“The airport’s privatization will be bid (out) this year and Koreans have already expressed interest,” Hagedorn said.

With regard hotel accommodation, Hagedorn said they now have a total of 146 hotels, a far cry from the few inns dotting the city in 1992.

“Having surged significantly over the past 20 years, tourism dollars are financing progress in the city – from irrigation covering over 2,000 hectares, nursery and propagation farms for high-value seedlings, farm implements benefiting 17,000 farmers, to government housing programs, more roads, more schools, more for public healthcare and more for building blocks for fish and marine sanctuaries,” Hagedorn reported.

By Patricia Esteves (The Philippine Star)

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