Puerto Princesa City in Philippines worried about Chinese Tourists and illegal gambling

Puerto Princesa City in Philippines worried about Chinese Tourists and illegal gambling

Puerto Princesa is a popular tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. It has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.  The city is located in the western province of Palawan, and westernmost city in the Philippines and has about a quarter of a million people living there.

Many in this town feel the town is overrun by Chinese nationals, mostly tourists. There are many newly organized establishments catering to tourism forms the backdrop of this seeming trend which has prompted City Hall officials to call for an investigation.

In Manila and other major cities, the reported involvement of Chinese nationals in online casino gambling has come to a head and has enforcement agencies having their hands full trying to curtail cybercrime activities.

The recent growth of tourism in Puerto Princesa City has been fueled by unprecedented waves of arrivals of Asian visitors, mainly from Korea and China. What has been otherwise a slumping sector has recently become a vibrant business to local establishments catering to tourists.

It is not certain what has triggered such sudden boost, particularly in Chinese arrivals, but it is well worth noting that all these have happened within the backdrop of the present administration’s diplomatic pivot towards Beijing.

There are certain red flags that needed to be raised concerning this trend, particularly because of the unique situation of Palawan being the territorial doorstep to the disputed West Philippine Sea. With Beijing aggressively maintaining its physical dominance over the region, and with Manila displaying a laissez-faire foreign policy stance, Palawan needs to take care of its own backyard.

As City Hall is set to conduct a probe on illegal Chinese gambling activities, in the wake of recent arrests of certain Chinese nationals, these broad questions of national security also need to be raised.

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Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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