The Key to Recovering From Two Major Disasters in Two Years: Public-Private Collaboration.

The recovery of Puerto Princesa, a world-renowned tourist destination, is dependent on close collaboration and cooperation between the government and the private sector.

Last year, Puerto Princesa was on the mend, reopening its doors to visitors to enjoy its pristine beaches, majestic caves, and lush green forests.

However, another disaster struck the city in the form of Super Typhoon Odette, causing even more problems for its residents.

Odette exacerbated the pandemic's theft of approximately P10 billion in potential tourism revenues, resulting in an additional P300 million in infrastructure and livelihood damage.

However, the twin disasters are insufficient to quench the city's thirst for recovery. Puerto Princesa is more determined than ever to become even stronger.

"The road to recovery is not paved by one entity alone." It necessitates a strong collaboration between the public and private sectors. If we in government are the administrators of the state, our private sector partners are the bloodline," said Demetrio "Toto" Alvior, Jr., Tourism Officer for Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

He explained that the two sectors are inseparable for Puerto Princesa, and that the government is determined to assist its partners in fully recovering from the twin disasters that occurred over the last two years.

"The key to recovery is to enable and support the private sector in continuing or resuming operations." Apart from other government agencies, the collective impacts of small business operations are our most important partners," Alvior explained.

Tourist destinations across the country were losing money as a result of people being told to stay at home. According to the Department of Tourism, visitor receipts fell by 83 percent in the first year of the pandemic, totaling P82.24 billion in 2020, down from P482.15 billion in 2019.

'Never gave up hope.'

The tourism department has three goals for this year: complete restoration of typhoon-damaged tourist attractions, completion of the P3.5 billion Puerto Princesa Cruise Port, and an aggressive promotion campaign to attract the local and international market.

"In the two years since the outbreak, we have never stopped hoping for a better future." "The year 2022 is no exception," Alvior said.
Following restoration efforts, Puerto Princesa is now welcoming local and foreign tourists back to its shores, which are home to the famous Underground River, one of the world's seven wonders.

Puerto Princesa is ready to welcome back foreign tourists, bolstered by a renewed sense of optimism and the relaxation of travel restrictions for foreign tourists. The city, which is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, has already fully vaccinated all of its tourism workers.

The experience will provide visitors with a much-needed break from the monotony of nearly three years of pandemic restrictions, as well as an opportunity for locals to recover and rebuild better.

Helping small tourism-related businesses in Puerto Princesa — for example, by eating at local restaurants and booking hotel rooms — will also benefit the larger picture.

Tourism isn't the only thing in Puerto Princesa

The economy of Puerto Princesa, Palawan's capital city, is heavily reliant on tourism. Almost 15,000 people benefit from the sector in some way, ranging from small businesses that cater to tourists to infrastructure projects such as hotels.

Moving forward, Alvior believes this should be a lesson to the city to be open to other sources of income, such as agriculture.

"Agriculture helped us weather Odette's storms and the pandemic's effects." While we rebuild our tourism industry, it is equally important for both the public and private sectors to focus on agricultural development," he said.

Those planning a trip to Puerto Princesa are encouraged to check out the city's official Facebook page, Puerto Princesa Tourism, for the most up-to-date quarantine protocols.

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