MANILA, Philippines—The number of tourists visiting Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is likely to increase in the next few months with its main attraction, the Puerto Princesa Underground River, proclaimed as one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature on Saturday, its city mayor said Wednesday.
Mayor Edward Hagedorn said the inaugural ceremony which will be held on April 21, is likely to further boost local and foreign tourists visiting Puerto Princesa by around 200,000 as compared to last year’s record.
He said that from 160,000 tourists in 2007, the record rose to 514,000 last year, and is likely to reach 700,000 until the end of the year. Hagedorn attributed this not to the underground river but also to other places of entertainment being developed in the city.
“Dati wala kaming zip line, ngayon ang dami na. Dati hindi masyadong popular and trekking, ngayon popular na,” Hagedorn said, adding that the city now has floating restaurants, and shark and dolphin watching facilities, among others.
He said that while not all of the 514,000 visitors recorded in 2011 actually went to see the underground river, around 60 percent to 70 percent did.
To prepare for the expected increase of tourists visiting the underground river, Hagedorn said an online booking system will be implemented in the next two to three months.
While the system is still a work in progress, the mayor said that they will post the mechanics for online booking in underground river’s website once it has been perfected.
The inaugural ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held on Saturday at One Esplanade, SM Central Business Park seaside corner Bay Boulevard in Pasay City.
Along with President Benigno Aquino III as the guest of honor, key officials from the six other countries that made it to the list, as well as national government officials and local government officials of the National Capital Region, will be attending the event.
The highlight of the event, Hagedorn said, will be the unveiling of the New 7 Wonders of Nature marker and the awarding of the same to the city of Puerto Princesa.
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