Tourism growth in Puerto Princesa

Tourism boom reaches now Puerto Princesa in the Philippines

Luc Citrinot - 12 July 2012, 08:39

As tourism is booming in Palawan (Philippines), the provincial capital city tries to gear up for the fast increase in arrivals. The nomination as one of the World’s new 7 Wonders of Nature certainly had an impact on the current trend.

PUERTO PRINCESA- It was deemed for so long as a sleepy area with a city famed for its leafy avenues and the lack of congested streets, a well-appreciated difference with other large metropolitan areas in the Philippines. These days seem definitely over as fame is now catching up.Puerto Princesa is famous for its Underground River, a natural wonder which was acknowledged in 1999 by the UNESCO which listed the site as a World Heritage. While tourism to the Philippines grew last year by 11%, Puerto Princesa experienced a jump of tourist arrivals estimated to be between 25% and 40%.

Many reasons can explain this boom: Puerto Princesa Underground River was named last year as one of the world’s new 7 Wonders of Nature, boosting its appeal and fame among travellers around the world. At the time of the nomination, occupancy at hotels went up right away to over 60%. Then, they are more low cost airlines’ option to fly to Puerto Princesa. The launching of AirAsia Philippines is likely to further make the destination attractive.

Last year, Puerto Princesa welcomed already some 522,000 and officials at the Official Tourism Bureau now forecast some 625,000 visitors in 2012. Figures could then reach over 800,000 in 2013 and probably break-up the one-million mark in 2014. It would mean that in less than four years, Puerto Princesa would have seen  tourist arrivals jumping by almost 100%. And authorities even talk now of two million tourists before the end of the decade.

Puerto Princesa is already the Philippines seventh most visited destination. It could rapidly climb to the fifth position… With the increase in tourist arrivals and the projected growth in the coming years, hotels’ investments are accelerating:  17 new hotels are under construction in Puerto Princesa. Six properties were inaugurated in 2011.

The rapid growth brings also some management problems for tourist attractions. Especially in maintaining the delicate balance of the UNESCO-listed Underground River. This natural paradise with its unique mineral life receives on average 45,000 visitors per month. Entrance to the Underground River is strictly regulated, a requisite from UNESCO to protect the ecosystem. Boats’ traffic to the river as well as available seats on the boats are also limited. Puerto Princesa will need then to further regulate flows if a new management system is not introduced to manage the expected increase in visitors’ flows. The best way will be to create new attractions which will also capture the travelling public. Puerto Princesa faces a classic ticking bomb which could depredate the destination if quick action is not undertaken.

Tourism growth in Puerto Princesa Tourism growth in Puerto Princesa Reviewed by Wanderstruck Travel & Tours on 16:33:00 Rating: 5
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