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On-line boost to Palawan Tourism

On-line booking for hotel accommodations and flights to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, site of the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, brought big rewards but also overwhelming problems, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said on Sunday. He said the new on-line system, which would make it easy for tourists to book flights and hotel rooms in the city, was accessible to travel agencies here and abroad. “We worked hard for Puerto Princesa’s tourism. And we could not be happier that it worked and flourished,” Hagedorn said. “But the demand was quite overwhelming. It eventually caused us more problems than rewards. We had more than what we can handle. And we weren’t prepared for it,” he said. The new on-line system was presented last February to the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and the Philippine Tour Operators Association. Consultations were also made with local stakeholders in Puerto Princesa. The new system will be operated by the city government as provided for by a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Tourism. Tourist arrivals in the city surged after the underground river was named one of UNESCO’s New Seven Wonders of Nature. Hagedorn said the increase in tourist traffic has caused confusion in securing permits to the underground river and it has affected the manner of restriction of access due to environmental concerns. He said he expected the number of tourist arrivals to grow in the next few months because of the on-line booking system but they have somehow managed to cope with the increased demand.
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