MANILA, Philippines – Tourists no longer need to wait in long queues to visit the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR).
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Puerto Princesa City government launched an online booking system for the river, one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The DOT said the system would help tourists plan their trips to PPUR, even before they book their hotels and flights. They may access the booking site via http://ppur.com.ph.
Once they’ve completed their reservations, they will receive an email notification that will serve as digital invoice they need to present when they reach the site.
“We worked very hard for Puerto Princesa’s tourism. And we could not be happier that it, indeed, worked and flourished. 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,” Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said.
The DOT said tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa surged by 45% after the underground river won a slot in world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature, a global online poll.
The increase in traffic, the DOT said, overwhelmed the PPUR office and the city government. The two offices need to carefully plan tourist visits to the PPUR for environmental and conservation reasons.
“This is merely the beginning of our efforts together and one of the measures that will help ensure that the world-famous attraction’s carrying capacity is not compromised. We should be thanking Puerto Princesa more obviously for the efforts of its people in making fun a real and palpable experience in the country,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.
The booking system was presented for comments to the officers of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and the Philippine Tour Operators Association.
Prior to this, a series of public meetings were made with tourism stakeholders in Puerto Princesa. – Cai Ordinario/Rappler.com
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