The City of Puerto Princesa presented its roadmap for the re-opening of tourism sector to various stakeholders and the Department of Tourism (DOT) recently.
As tourism gradually re-opens under the new normal, different cities are preparing plans to ensure safe and efficient resumption of this heavily-affected industry by the COVID-19 crisis.
Cecilia Isubal, City Program Coordinator of the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said that the City Government of Puerto Princesa presented its Tourism Reopening and Recovery Plan (TRRP) to the DOT and tourism industry stakeholders.
The TRRP is one of the pre-requisites of DOT prior to the reopening of tourist destinations.
Ms. Aileen Amurao, City Tourism Officer discussed the city’s tourism recovery strategies focusing on the prevention of local transmission through observance of strict health and safety protocols in tourism establishments and putting in place safety nets for displaced tourism workers.
The City Government of Puerto Princesa has allocated an initial P205 million COVID-19 response fund to implement stringent measures to prevent community transmission through thorough health screening of incoming travelers and detection and isolation of symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
The City Government also established COVID -19 laboratory to test arriving tourists.
The city’s tourism reopening strategy is divided into three phases. The first phase will allow tourism-related establishments to cater to locals living in the city and in the Palawan province; the second phase will allow the entry of travelers from other low-risk regions and provinces; and the third and final stage will allow the entry of all other local and foreign tourists to the city subject to government-mandated health and safety standards. After the presentation, the TRRP will be updated with timelines for the completion of strategic measures and will be finalized.
USAID’s SURGE provided technical assistance to the City Tourism Office and local tourism industry stakeholders in formulating the TRRP.
Since 2016, the USAID through SURGE project has been providing technical assistance to the city’s tourism industry in the formulation of a Tourism Development Plan and tourism brand, in enhancing the operations of its community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites and launching the city’s nature-based tourism attractions.
The tourism reopening strategies provide clear and doable roadmaps that will hasten the recovery of tourism-related establishments and restart the livelihood of workers and entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic.