Gradual reopening of Palawan to revive tourism economy in the province

El Nido Resorts is reopening via dry-run. (Photo from El Nido Resorts FB page)

Palawan, one of famous destinations in the Philippines, is among the spots eyed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to reopen and restart local tourism in the country. 

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat met with local officials and tourism stakeholders in Palawan to discuss the recovery plans for the tourism industry in the province.

The province has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since June 1, and as such, tourism and leisure activities are now allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity.

Puyat wants the process of reopening of Palawan to be “slow but sure.”

El Nido Resorts, one of the tourist destinations in Palawan, has started a dry run of its reopening. It has scheduled to reopen two of its four island resorts, Miniloc and Pangulasian Island Resorts, soon–but at a managed occupancy. The low occupancy rate will allow the resort to observe safe physical distancing protocols in common areas. Apulit and Lagen Island Resorts will remain closed until September 30.

The premier resort has put in place safeguards to ensure the safety and well-being of its guests and staff. 

Some of the measures implemented by the resort include contactless booking through website, e-mail, Facebook or by phone call, filling out health declaration forms, arrival details, pre-payment of booking via cashless payment options, among others.

Tourists will be flown to El Nido via AirSWIFT direct flights.  

The recovery of the tourism industry in the Philippines will rely on domestic tourism according to a survey commissioned by the DOT recently.

DOT is trying to restart local tourism economies to help businesses and workers cope with the losses because of the pandemic.

Coron, El Nido, and San Vicente, tourist destinations in Northern Palawan, have already incurred losses amounting to P3.1 billion in tourism revenues that resulted in displacement of some 14,000 tourism workers.

For the revival of the tourism industry in Palawan, the DOT would provide the necessary assistance to the province.

“The Department of Tourism sees domestic travel as the catalyst to reviving our industry. We are happy that Governor Jose Alvarez (of Palawan) had earlier expressed his intention to reopen tourism in the province as early as possible, and we will be pleased to work with you towards recovery every step of the way,” said Puyat.

After El Nido, San Vicente would start its dry run with health and safety protocols already in place. While Coron awaits its real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines before reopening.

Puyat reminded the tourism players in the province that the safety and health of guests and tourism workers should not be compromised in the resumption of tourism operations. 

She said only DOT-accredited establishments with Certificates of Authority to operate will be allowed to reopen.

Raquel P. Gomez
Special Features writer at Philippine Daily Inquirer. She is tasked to write anything under the sun, but certain topics appeal to her personally, like technology, gardening, cooking, food, movies, TV series, heritage and historical areas, and travel. You may email her at