“It’s wonderful to see that our rehabilitation and sustainable development efforts last year,
especially in El Nido and Coron, were well-received by tourists everywhere”
The Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday said Palawan reclaimed the Best Island in the World title by renowned travel publication, Travel + Leisure.
“Palawan reclaimed its rightful place in the World’s Best Awards. The citation as the Best Island in the World is all the more important because this is voted upon by the readers of the prominent Travel + Leisure (T+L) magazine,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Travel + Leisure writer Sara Clemence said, “though it’s difficult to reach from many parts of the world, once travelers get there they can dive in World War II wrecks, explore old-growth rain forests, and paddle one of the world’s longest subterranean rivers at Puerto Princesa”.
“The landscape and scenery are just gorgeous. It offers the most beautiful beaches, resorts, and scenery anywhere,” the travel magazine quoted a fan describing Palawan.
“It’s wonderful to see that our rehabilitation and sustainable development efforts last year, especially in El Nido and Coron, were well-received by tourists everywhere,” added Puyat.
Another popular destination in the Philippines, Boracay, made it to No. 14 in T+L’s World Best Island list and fifth in Asia this year.
This is the third citation reaped by the Philippines since community quarantines were enforced in various parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forbes magazine earlier ranked the Philippines among the seven countries “that have the potential to become a major tourist destination in a post-COVID world’.
Last month, Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) cited the Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan, as one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World.
Puyat recently checked the readiness of Palawan, now a four-time winner of the world’s best island award.
The tourism chief consulted and dialogued with local officials and tourism stakeholders to discuss the recovery of the tourism industry in the province. Puyat said that the DOT wants to restart tourism in the province but wants the process to be “slow but sure.”
Puyat said that the DOT is trying to restart local tourism economies to help businesses and workers cope with the losses because of the pandemic.
Three tourist destinations in Northern Palawan – Coron, El Nido, and San Vicente, incurred losses amounting to P3.1 billion in tourism revenues, and resulted to some 14,000 displaced tourism workers.
The tourism chief reiterated the DOT’s thrust to promote domestic tourism, adding that the department would provide the necessary assistance to the province after Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez announced the decision to soon allow tourism in their province.
“The Department of Tourism sees domestic travel as the catalyst to reviving our industry.
We are happy that Governor Alvarez had earlier expressed his intention to reopen tourism in the province as early as possible, and we will be pleased to work with you towards recovery every step of the way,” said Puyat.
Palawan Governor Alvarez echoed Puyat’s sentiments in ensuring health and safety for these areas before opening up for tourism.
Immediate plans for the health and safety protocol dry run in El Nido are already set, followed by San Vicente.
At the same time, Coron awaits its real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines before further plans for reopening.
Meanwhile, Puyat reminded the tourism players present that the safety and health of guests and tourism workers should not be compromised in the resumption of tourism operations.
The DOT chief added that only DOT-accredited establishments with Certificates of Authority to operate will be allowed to reopen.