Stakeholders of the local tourism and hospitality industry on Sunday said efforts are underway to make the province an even more attractive destination for travelers and adventure-seekers.
Rey Felix Rafols, president of the Palawan Tourism Council (PTC), said the ongoing Tourism Travel Fair here was organized as a one-stop-shop for tourists seeking information, diverse destinations, and informed choices about their travel plans with the assistance of knowledgeable professionals.
The three-day travel fair opened at Robinsons Place Palawan here on Saturday and will run until Monday.
With the theme “Experience a Renewed Palawan: Celebrating People, Festival, Places, Food, and Culture,” it is one of several events attached to the month-long Baragatan Festival.
The Baragatan (convergence or meeting) showcases the cultural groups of the province through trade shows, exhibitions, float parade and street dancing, among others.
Rafols said the travel fair allows businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector to showcase their products and services to potential customers.
“Its purpose is to commemorate tourism, encompassing not only the overall magnificence of Palawan and its unspoiled beaches but also the indomitable spirit of the Palaweños, which has consistently been regarded as one of our most valuable strengths,” he said in an interview.
Rafols said that despite the challenges arising from the pandemic, Palawan “continues to be resilient, looking forward, and embracing.”
He underscored the importance of prioritizing the advancement of food tourism and heritage tours by the provincial government as a crucial step in sustaining the rejuvenation of Palawan’s tourism industry.
“There’s room for improvement in food and offering cultural heritage tourism, and hopefully, with the help of our tourism officials in the provincial government, we can do it,” he added.
Provincial Board member Roseller Pineda highlighted during the opening of the travel fair the need for Palawan, or the Philippines as a whole, to have no off-season for tourism since it is a tropical country without a winter season.
Pineda shared his idea of promoting tourism during the off-season by providing incentive travel that would encourage local travelers to fill gaps during the wet season, during the second half of the year.
“During the off-season, we must encourage local travelers, both Palaweños and all Filipinos. The provincial government, city government, and every local government unit in Palawan can offer incentive travel,” he said.
Pineda said one strategy is for government or even private corporations to offer travel incentives to their workers once they become top performers.
“If we can do that in Palawan and, little by little, with the help of the DOT (Department of Tourism), we can lobby or appeal to the governors’ league to implement it nationwide and provide incentive travel to top-performing workers. The beneficiary of that would be Palawan because we are known as a prime tourist destination,” he added. (PNA)