Opening of Three Ports in Palawan to Boost Tourism, Trade
Three port projects in Palawan were recently completed. Two of these ports serve as gateways to two major tourist destinations in the Philippines, El Nido and Coron. The development of these ports is expected to boost tourism as well as trade in the province.
The Philippines’ Department of Transportation said the projects were finished during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and will be inaugurated on 19 March.
In El Nido, the Port of San Fernando project developed the causeway, back-up area, and reinforced concrete wharf with RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ramps.
In Coron, port development at Borac included the back-up area, construction of concrete pavement, and installation of lamp posts, rubber dock fenders, and mooring bollards.
The wharf, back-up area, and port lighting system were also completed at the Port of Bataraza, a municipality located on the southernmost tip of Palawan.
Top ecotourism destination
Limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, coral atolls, and tropical forests make Palawan province one of the popular ecotourism destinations in BIMP-EAGA.
Before the pandemic, tourism in Palawan was booming. It attracted close to 2 million tourists in 2019 and rated by CNN Travel as one of the world’s most beautiful island destinations. Known as the Philippine’s “last ecological frontier,” the province is a biodiversity-rich cluster of islands in the westernmost part of the country, with its main island not far from Borneo.
El Nido was reopened to domestic tourists at the end of November, after implementing measures to protect the health and safety of guests, workers, and host communities. Coron also started accepting local visitors on 1 December.
The tourism industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, not just in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world. Countries in Southeast Asia saw a 75.8% drop in tourism receipts in 2020, compared with 2019 based on early estimates of ASEAN. International arrivals dropped by 80.5% and hotel room occupancy was at its lowest level as the industry experienced massive cancellations because of the pandemic.
ASEAN plans to set up a regional travel corridor and other measures to enable countries in the region to safely resume international travel and tourism.