This pandemic has crippled all sectors involved in what used to be the major income producer of this paradise island – tourism.
According to Palawan Tourism Council (PTC) President Rix Rafols, it may take until December to recover.
‘’Ang balita (nga) natin ang tourism probably hanggang December pa bago maging maayos or back to normal yun ang sinasabi nila, pero hindi (rin) yun sigurado espekulasyon pa lang yun,” Rafols said during the Facebook online radio interview of “Chris Ng Bayan” recently at Palawan Daily News.
Rafols hopes that in spite of this situation, local tourists will be able to help revive this and little by little hotels and tours can operate.
“Ang inaasahan po natin kung magiging istrikto tayo sa mga sarili natin, at wala pong local community transmission ng COVID-19, sana po ay mag open na tayo kahit sa locals lang, yun yung inaasahan natin, yun ang pinapangarap natin na ma-confirm, para maka open partially kahit dito lang sa local tourism,” Rafols said.
The council is scheduling meetings to come up with solutions and among the suggestions being offered by the members of the council is to boost agriculture and offer online virtual tours of beautiful spots.
“Sa ngayon wala tayong nakikitang deretsong solusyon, ang nakikita lang po natin ay mga alternative solutions, marami pong suggestion na mag-farming, maraming suggestions na mag online virtual tours katulad ng ginagawa sa ibang bansa, parang virtual tour let’s say sa El Nido or sa Underground River, or kung saan man na puedeng kumuha ng kaunting fees,” Rafols explain.
As domestic and international airline flights may resume around October or November of this year in Puerto Princesa and other municipalities of Palawan, what the council can do right now is prioritize extending assistance to the workers and individuals who rely their income in tourism. PTC are raising funds and accepting donations to help those greatly affected in this time.
“Naniniwala ako na ang Palawan mabilis makaka-recover, napakaganda ng Palawan, number 1na binebenta natin yung scenery, number 2 na binebenta natin sa buong mundo ay ang puso ng Palawenyo, pag pumunta kayo kahit saan sinasabi nila napaka-accommodating ng taga-Palawan, pagkatapos ng pandemic na ‘to ay mabilis tayong makakabangon, at I’m sure ang tourism natin mabilis makaka-angat, pero sa ngayon kapit kamay, kunting tiis mas importante ang buhay,” Rafols said in closing.