THE two major tourist spots which were affected when super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) battered the central part of the country are now back on its feet, a ranking government official said on Tuesday.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd said that the tourism industry in Boracay Island, Aklan province and Palawan province has normalized a few weeks after the devastation brought by Yolanda.
“Bilib ako sa ipinakitang tatag ng loob ng mga taga-Palawan at Boracay gayundin sa pagsisikap nilang ibangon muli ang kanilang mga komunidad, [I salute the people of Palawan and Boracay for their courage and efforts to rebuild their communities]” Roxas said in a statement.
The Interior Secretary is the vice-chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), which by law, is chaired by the secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND).
“Natutuwa ako sa mabilis na pagbangon ng industriya ng turismo sa ating mga probinsiya… definitely, the tourism industry in Palawan and Boracay in Aklan is back in business, [I am happy with the fast recovery of the tourism industry in the provinces…definitely, the tourism industry in Palawan and Boracay in Aklan is back in business]” Roxas said.
The Interior Secretary made the statement after he and other government officials visited and met with local officials in Palawan and Aklan to check on the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in typhoon affected regions.
“The leading resort hotspots largely escaped the brunt of Yolanda. We have met with tourism stakeholders, and concerned government officials in Palawan and Boracay who have informed us that they are back in business despite some minor hitches,” Roxas said.
Palawan is home to the Puerto Princesa Underground River and the world renowned Tubbataha Reef—two of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage Sites.
Palawan is also known for tourism destinations such as Honda Bay and El Nido Beach, while Boracay Island, famous for its white sand beaches and crystal waters.
During the meeting with local officials in Palawan and Aklan, Roxas, as well as the Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, extended the government’s commitment in supporting the local tourism industry and stakeholders in the two areas.
“Hotel operators in Palawan and Boracay must hasten the repairs of damaged structures so we can entice both local and foreign tourists to visit their places during the Holiday season,” Roxas said. ANTHONY VARGAS