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Palawan eyes tourism rebound

He said he would like Palawan to become a global tourist destination, like the Hawaiian Islands of the United States, or rival the phenomenal success of Kota Kinabalu

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Tourism is eyed to fight hunger and poverty in Palawan amid the pandemic that resulted in an economic slowdown in the province.

The provincial government is hoping to welcome 5 to 7 million tourists a year to generate more jobs and livelihood opportunities for Palaweños.

In a statement, Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvares said tourism can be the province’s direct poverty alleviator.

Everyone benefits from tourism, he said, not only the businessman but the support crew from farmers to direct tourism workers. Poverty incidence, formerly at 65.02 percent in the province, dropped under the Alvarez administration to about 55 percent.

The provincial government hopes to further decrease it to the national average of 24 percent or hopefully even lower. He said he would like Palawan to become a global tourist destination, like the Hawaiian Islands of the United States, or rival the phenomenal success of Kota Kinabalu.

“Kota Kinabalu has 1 million Filipinos, mostly undocumented, servicing tourists,” Alvarez cited, as an example. “Money circulating in Kota Kinabalu is equivalent to about P130 billion a year,” said the governor.

If the 5 to 7 million tourists a year can be guaranteed, jobs can be generated, and the Internal Revenue Allotment of the province which is P3 billion would be minuscule compared to the potential tourism receipts.

The province lost about 150 billion in tourism revenues, in the first months of the pandemic alone, due to the travel restrictions.

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