PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev wants to promote the town among his compatriots as a tourism destination.
Khovaev, who arrived Tuesday in the municipality for a three-day cultural and language training-seminar about his country, was accompanied by consuls Denis Karenin and Carmi Garcia, and Department of Tourism (DOT) representatives Gloria Punzalan and Zenaida Potapurchenco, said Coron administrator Jonathan Dabuit.
“This visit is another milestone in the municipality’s tourism industry as Russia has chosen Coron to be one of its tourism destinations. The DOT will hold a training tomorrow (Wednesday) for tourism stakeholders here to learn (about) the culture and language of Russian nationals, so they can welcome them better when they come here,” Dabuit told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
He said Coron Mayor Jerry Barracoso considers Khovaev’s official visit as “a new development to boost their primary industry, as Russian tourists comprise the minority of those traveling to the island town.”
“I think the number of our Russian visitors each year is only less than 10 percent, or not even more than 500 of the total tourist arrivals,” Dabuit said. He did not provide an exact figure regarding this.
Khovaev reportedly wants to promote Coron by including it in tour packages that will be marketed in Russia.
Dabuit added that the cultural and language training-seminar aims to acquaint various tourism stakeholders in Coron, led by the Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments Inc. (CATE), on how to welcome and accommodate Russian citizens best when they start to arrive.
“Our stakeholders here have to know the culture and traditions of our Russian friends so that when they arrive here, they know how to take care of them. We understand they have different culture and traditions, and learning that is part of how Coron can get its tourism services better,” he said.
As a tourism destination in northern Palawan, Dabuit said, Coron is now widening its marketing and promotions to increase this year’s estimated 300,000 tourist arrivals until December by 10 percent to 20 percent in 2018.
“Before the year ends, we’re expecting tourist arrivals to hit 300,000. By next year, we will be working hard to increase that. Currently, our leadership is focusing on the improvement and expansion of our port to welcome large vessels as there will be cruise ships arriving, and our airport to accommodate more flights,” Dabuit said.
At least 17 cruise ships are expected to dock and bring tourists to Coron in January 2018.