The City Government of Puerto Princesa in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) trained the tourism sector in the city, specifically those in the different Community-based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites in Puerto Princesa City, how to use digital platforms as marketing tools to promote local products and services to help sustain their tourism products and services.
Cecilia Baloy Isubal, the city program coordinator of the USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience through Growth with Equity (SURGE) in Puerto Princesa, said that this was made possible through the blended learning session on “Digital Marketing and Business Pivoting using Social Media for Puerto Princesa Tourism Women Workers and Entrepreneurs”.
Some 54 participants participated in the training, which more than 80 percent of them work for CBST sites.
The USAID through SURGE said that the participants learned more about e-commerce and digital marketing, digital content pillars, and the use of Facebook Messenger chatbox. The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center and Puerto Princesa City Underground River Management also participated in the session. Mr. Ralph Richard Asuncion, a USAID-trained local resource person, guided the participants to complete their social media calendars and automated chatbot responses through Facebook and Messenger.
The City Government of Puerto Princesa has institutionalized the CBST through City Ordinance No. 546 enacted in 2013. The local ordinance was passed to strengthen the community that will operate a specific tourism activity so that the locals who are members of these CBST associations will directly benefit from the tourism arrival and the income derived from the tourism activities in their respective localities.
Popular CBST sites in the city include Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour, Sabang Sea Ferry-Underground River, Babuyan Twin Sandbars, Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, Firefly Watching, among other CBST destinations.
The formation of the CBST is among the programs of the City Government to enhance the tourism industry in the locality and optimize engagement of the community in tourism activities.
“Puerto Princesa had a total of PhP5.45 billion worth of tourism-related revenue before the pandemic and these figures dropped by 80 percent during the surge of COVID-19. CBSTs are significant drivers in the local tourism industry of Puerto Princesa and USAID continues to support the efforts of the city government in strengthening its tourism industry attractions and products. This session was supported under the U.S. Government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative,” the USAID–SURGE in Puerto Princesa said.