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Puerto airport development boosts Palawan tourism PDF Print E-mail

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan, Aug. 17 (PNA) -- Improvements of the Puerto Princesa airport under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the nomination of the underground river as a new world wonder have greatly increased visitor arrival and air traffic in this province.

At least five new hotels and inns are at different stages of construction, indicating a great demand for more lodging facilities to accommodate the growing number of visitors in the city.

The more notable ones are Plaza Hotel at Junction Road corner WesCom Road — the biggest of them all; the hotel being built right beside the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. along Rizal Avenue; the one across the provincial capitol and another one on the way to the airport. Other smaller inns and pensions are also being put up with around 20 or more rooms plus de luxe and suite rooms, according to Justin Banzon, front desk officer of Tropical Sun Inn.

Four airlines currently serve Puerto Princesa six days a week with two flights daily. These are Philippine Airlines, and its sister company, Air Philippines; Cebu Pacific and Zest Air. On Sundays, they schedule one flight each, according to Engr. Benedicto S. Guia Jr., assistant project manager of the Puerto Princesa Airport Development Project.

But yesterday, August 16, was a significantly heavy day for PAL as it scheduled a special flight at 8:10 a.m. (or 10 minutes after its regular flight). It was more than 60 percent full with passengers mostly coming from Manila to attend to the details of the President’s inauguration and marker unveiling today, August 17, from the different government agencies.

There are 30 hotels and inns in Puerto Princesa, with the biggest, the Legends Hotel Asturias and Fleuris hotels, charging P1,500 for a room, P2,500 for a suite, and P2,000 de luxe per night. The 27 inns and pension houses also offer standard (bed and breakfast) rooms at these rates, Banzon said.

Visitor arrivals have considerably increased since the second quarter of last year. Banzon attributed this to the excitement generated by the online nomination of the underground river as a new world wonder. The nomination, he said, aroused the curiosity of tourists, mostly Americans, European and Asian (principally Korean).

Curiously, there are no taxicabs in Puerto simply because it is not feasible to operate such in the province. But there are vans for hire and color-coded tricycles (that can ferry three or more passengers per unit) which have a designated terminal at the airport.

The reason for color coding is to give every driver a chance to earn a living. For instance, white color-coded tricycles ply the city’s roads on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday while the blue tricycles are scheduled on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sundays are free for all day. (PNA)

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