The Philippines is rich with destinations that attract millions of visitors every year. In 2018, more than 7.1 million international tourists visited the country alone, which is a 7.7% increase in comparison with the previous year. However, the local tourism industry took a hit as the coronavirus spread globally. With flights being canceled and travel only allowed for business, thousands of locals who heavily rely on tourists had to put their jobs on hold.
But local tourism seems to be slowly getting back on its feet as restrictions ease and spots reopen. On June 6, the town of Coron, Palawan has reopened its tourism industry as a means to reboot its local economy.
For locals only
Don’t get too excited, only residents from the Calamian Group of Islands are given the heads up for the tours. This means that only people from the towns of Culion, Busuanga, Calauit, and Coron are allowed to enjoy scuba diving, island hopping, and other land-based tours on the island.
On June 12, the Twin Lagoon, Kayangan Lake, and Barracuda Lake will be reopened to tourists.
Strict guidelines to follow
Tour facilitators and local tourists are to follow modified general community guidelines as the island reopens. Locals are required to secure permits from the Philippine Coast Guard before going on tours. In addition, they have to provide valid identification documents to prove their residence and only tourists aged 21 to 60 years old will be given permits.
In addition to those measures, tours will remain limited. Only 250 island hopping tours and 30 scuba diving tours will be accommodated daily. In observance of social distancing, only 50% of carrying capacity will be allowed on boats and operators must provide alcohol or sanitizers for disinfecting.
Tourism in Palawan
Palawan welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2018. According to the Provincial Tourism Promotions Development of Palawan, 63% or 1,137,712 came from domestic locations. Only 664,000 were foreign tourists. This just means that when travel returns to normal, we should do our part to choose local destinations to help our fellow Filipinos.
When travel returns to normal, which destination will you visit first?