By CELESTE ANNA R. FORMOSO
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — Even before the declaration of 2015 as the “Visit the Philippines Year,” the city government has already planned the line-up of its activities for a prosperous and brighter tourism industry in this city in cooperation with the national government and the private sector.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron said this in his regular “meet the press” at the City Hall Building, Barangay Sta. Monica in support of Proclamation No. 991, which promotes the country as host for “meetings, conventions, and exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific.”
The mayor said that this month, preparations are over for the celebration of the “Pangalipay sa Baybay” (Fiesta by the Bay), which will feature nightly activities at the bay walk.
The center of celebration will be on April 21 to commemorate the 70th Philippine Liberation anniversary of the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War 2.
On this day, Bayron added, that the city is expecting to host hundreds of visitors led by ranking local and national government officials of the Philippines, former president Fidel Ramos, and VIP guests from the embassies of the U.S., Australia and Japan.
For June, preparations will start early for the annual forest feast “Pista Y Ang Kagueban,” where droves upon droves of residents are estimated to plant tree seedlings to revive the forests.
Since January, he said, the city has been getting a lot of visitors from cruise ships, chartered flights, and other tourism promotions to boost the city’s growing tourism industry.
One of the highlights of the month of February, for instance, was the annual Valentine mangrove planting “Love Affair with Nature” activity to revive coastal mangrove forests.
Once again, he boasted that at the end of 2013, Puerto Princesa has already recorded an arrival of 692,982 compared to 2012’s 654,033. Last year, this even rose to 740,272 that only proved his detractors wrong to say tourism in the city has taken a slump.
At present, weekly arrivals of tourists in the city are undeniably large. These are the regular chartered flights from Taiwan via Philippine Airlines, and the cruise ships that come from all continents.
The “Visit the Philippines Year” proclamation enjoins all government and non-government agencies, all sectors of the society to make the country an exciting tourism venue as it hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum this year, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Tourism Forum in 2016