PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia Zest (Philippines) and the Palawan government represented by Governor Jose Alvarez and the Palawan Tourism Council (PTC) signed Wednesday a partnership understanding agreement to launch the “World’s Best Island” campaign.
At the Governor’s Conference Room, Provincial Capitol Building, Alvarez said the campaign rides on the declaration of Palawan by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Award as 2014’s World’s Best Island.
The goal is for AirAsia Zest (Philippines), the PTC, and the provincial government to work together to bring around 1.4 million tourist arrivals by 2016 to Palawan, which “is home to natural wonders that are acclaimed globally.”
With El Nido being named as the “Most Beautiful Island Beach,” and Honda Bay Islands in Puerto Princesa as the “Best Island Beach for Swimming and Snorkeling,” Alvarez believes that the campaign can help reach the said target tourist arrivals.
“For years, Palawan seemed to be one of the country’s best kept secrets, with its idyllic destinations unknown to many. In recent years, the province has emerged as among the top tourist destinations not only in the Philippines but globally. Being named the world’s best island is truly an honor, and has presented to us both a challenge and opportunity to continue having this prestige. The island is usually known as the country’s last frontier – it is up to us to make Palawan to remain the first on every tourist’s list,” Alvarez said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU).
In the partnership understanding, the provincial government signed the MOU in a bid to also expand Palawan’s tourism potentials, develop tourism products and services, and organize monthly activities that would “entice the market.”
The PTC and AirAsia Zest (Philippines), on the other hand, will participate by fully supporting and cooperating with the province for the implementation of the Palawan Tourism Action Plan and Campaign.
The Palawan government further agrees to implement pro-active marketing and promotional efforts to inform the public and lure target markets to visit the province.
The three will also carry out media familiarization tours and other activities under the campaign.
The “World’s Best Island” campaign is supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the United States Agency for International Development under its Advancing Philippine Competitiveness project (USAID-COMPETE).
As part of developing the “World’s Best Island” campaign, the USAID-COMPETE helped the province strengthen existing destinations and conceptualized new tourism products, including the promotion of heritage and culture.
Next month, Palawan will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation from Japanese colonizers.
Dubbed as “A Salute to Valor: Palawan-70 years of Freedom,” a cultural-heritage tour package will be launched to highlight not just the island’s beautiful beaches and landscapes but also its rich history and culture.
Meanwhile, the PTC agreed to coordinate between the province and tourism stakeholders in Palawan, as well as host the guests during the familiarization tours.
AirAsia Zest (Philippines) has committed to offer special low fares during travel fairs, and provide year-round affordable rates for its 3x/daily flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa City.
The airline will also give Palawan advance information on special promo rates for the province and all stakeholders to support it through marketing and promotional activities.
With the campaign, the Palawan provincial government, Palawan Tourism Council, and AirAsia Zest (Philippines) seek to actively promote the province’s renowned destinations.
Dubbed as a place where “every island is an adventure,” the province boasts of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been named one of the world’s best natural wonders.
Palawan also has another world heritage site popular for undersea adventurers – the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. It is also home to endangered species, including the Sunda tree squirrel and Calamian deer.