An elaborate plan by the Palawan government, the non-profit Palawan Tourism Council, the Department of Tourism and low-cost carrier AirAsia Zest to bring in around two million visitors to the province in 2015, might well have been reached, therefore exasperating the gnawing long wait time that tourists had to bear just to visit the cave and the river.
A simple round-up of various sites and forums on Palawan Underground River then and now will easily reveal two frequent contrasting comments by visitors: ‘amazing’ and ‘too long wait time”.
Visitors need to spend long wait time for their boats that will land them on a patch of land near the mouth of the river (cave), and another long wait time for the boat that will take visitors inside the cave. The ordeal could run up to two and half hours more or less.
Tourists can accept the long wait time since only 1,500 per day visitors are allowed into the cave (previous cap was 900) to limit the negative impact of humans on the cave’s delicate ecosystem, but not having a system in placed to let them know of their schedule is even worse and won’t help them to better plan their side trips or activities.Without an effective notification system, visitors will tend to hang around where the announcements are made instead of confidently touring other attractions.
Stakeholders in Palawan’s tourism can pull their resources together to set up such a system.
Tourists to the island could be around 2 million a year right now with a visitor wait time of already a couple of hours long, how worse will the waiting be if the number of tourists reaches 4 million?
Patience is not a virtue of many humans. Stakeholders should not wait for human impatience take the better of their desire to visit Palawan Underground River.
Stakeholders must resist the temptation of increasing again the daily cap on visitors entering the cave to ease the waiting time; as it is, the cave’s ecology is already being disturbed.