The City Tourism Department here has reported a notable rise in tourist arrivals in 2023, reaching nearly 529,000, according to preliminary data.
Puerto Princesa tourism chief Demetrio Alvior Jr. said Monday afternoon the current count could still rise as not all data has been encoded, but the increase is presently logged as 76 percent compared to the 300,000 tourists in 2022.
Alvior said these statistics account for visitors who spent at least one night in Puerto Princesa, excluding transient tourists from cruise ships or those just passing through.
Puerto Princesa maintains its status as a top destination in the Mimaropa region, with attractions like El Nido, Coron, Brooke’s Point and Linapacan contributing to its popularity.
Alvior said more than five of the region’s top attractions are located within Palawan.
“Just like last year, this applies to the entire Mimaropa region, not just Palawan,” he added.
Alvior cited Puerto Princesa’s effective tourism accreditation system under the city’s Standard Division, which ranks highest in the Mimaropa region for compliance with Department of Tourism standards and processes.
He said other local government units have expressed their admiration for Puerto Princesa’s quick recovery following the pandemic and Typhoon Odette.
“I’ve spoken with many local government units elsewhere, and they’re envious of Puerto Princesa’s swift recovery from the pandemic and Typhoon Odette,” he said.
Alvior attributed this tourism resurgence to collaborative efforts among various stakeholders in the industry and underscored the importance of sustaining and enhancing these achievements.
Under Mayor Lucilo Bayron’s leadership, Puerto Princesa is focusing on developing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) tourism, he said.
Alvior said MICE tourism brings substantial economic benefits through corporate spending on venues, accommodations, dining and transportation, exceeding leisure travel expenses.
He said the city hosted about 800 MICE events last year, attracting nearly 70,000 visitors.
Alvior cited the significant spending power of MICE tourists and the advantages it brings to the local economy.
However, while the city has the potential for MICE events, it faces a capacity limitation, currently accommodating a maximum of 1,000 individuals.
To address this, Alvior said plans are underway to build convention centers to increase visitor capacity and stimulate more flights to Puerto Princesa, ultimately enhancing the city’s tourism infrastructure and its ability to host larger events and more tourists. (PNA)