By Keith Anthony Fabro

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — Puerto Princesa’s 85,000 monthly average visitors is expected to double due to Boracay’s impending closure, an official of the City Tourism Office (CTO) said.

CTO promotions and marketing division chief Michie Meneses said that starting next week, 10 redirected flights from Kalibo, Aklan, will be bringing guests to Puerto Princesa.

They are those whose bookings in Boracay had been cancelled due to its April 26 scheduled six-month closure by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“This is a good opportunity for us to have these tourists see the beauty of Puerto Princesa,” Meneses said, adding the arrivals of redirected flights were confirmed to them by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

She said among those they will showcase are the community-based sustainable tourism sites (CBSTs) in various barangays in the city, and the banner destinations: Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Sitio Sabang in Barangay Cabayugan; and Honda Bay Islands in Barangay Sta. Lourdes.

She added that a group of tour operators in Boracay had paid them a visit almost two weeks ago to ensure the smooth travel of the tourists and that they will be taken care of.

Meneses said the increase in tourist arrivals will not be a problem since the city has 270 establishments that offer an estimated total of 4,000 rooms.

On tour packages, she said tour operators and CBST managers are almost ready with the tour bundles they have repackaged to be presented in new ways.

“There’s nothing new except that tourists can avail tour bundles. For example, the existing underground river tour package will be bundled with CBST sites at a minimal additional cost. That way they could say there are more to Puerto Princesa than its famed underground river,” she added.

However, before these could be offered, the Sangguniang Panlungsod will have to deliberate on tour bundles and pass a city ordinance, she said. (PNA)

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