Coron Palawan tourism stakeholders foresee upbeat tourism as well as business and livelihood prospects in the Calamianes Group of Islands in the coming years on the heels of the inaugural of the Francisco Reyes Airport on Busuanga Island.
”We can accept more bookings”, said Al B. Linsangan III, president of the Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE).
CATE is composed of more than 50 tourism-related business establishments on the forefront of consolidating efforts to attain a sustainable tourism approach geared for long term benefits through balanced economic and environmental protection of the Calamianes area.
Linsangan said CATE officers and members came in full force during airport inauguration to show their gratitude following the facility upgrade and improvement of the airport situated strategically in Coron Palawan.
He stressed the newly-refurbished airport will set off a big jump of air traffic and tourist passengers in the Calamianes.
He assured that with the influx of tourists, the CATE members will provide competitive tourism services and rates, similar to tourists service providers in Boracay.
Describing the airport as a "blessing," Linsangan said both the local government and private sector counterparts will work closely together for an effective and ecologically-balanced management of the local tourism industry.
”In selling Coron Palawan tourism products, we need to have good services and behavior in accepting tourists”, he added.
He pointed out there are four airline local carriers servicing the Francisco Reyes airport namely; Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, SEAIR and Zest Airways.
”We have also now lower fare, tour packages, services and increase of cargoes from 10 to 15 kilos”, Linsangan said, adding that a previous rate of P4,500 has been trimmed trimmed down to P1,000 plus.
As a result, he said airport passenger volume capacity will increase several fold, from 300 a week to 4,200 passengers a week.
Linsangan said that Coron Palawan is famous for its natural reef and rock formations, corals, lakes, lagoons, beaches and marine forests.
The town is known for several Japanese shipwrecks during World War II and it is one of the most visited destinations for wreck diving in the country.
Wreck dive sites are found in a depth as shallow as 10-30 feet and as deep as 120-140 feet. Most are in the range of about 60-80 feet, a depth preferred by sports divers.
Wreck Diving Sites in Coron Bay include the Irako Wreck, Okikawa Maru Wreck, Akitsushima Wreck, Kogyo Maru Wreck, Olympia Maru Wreck, Kyokuzan Maru Wreck, East Tangat Gunboat Wreck (real name of the ship, Teru-Kaze Maru, was recently discovered by a group of Dutch divers, who spent a couple of days digging into bottom sand around the stern), Nanshin Maru Wreck, Lusong Gunboat Wreck and Skeleton Wreck.
The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Palawan are listed in the Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba dive sites in the world.