Astoria Group invests more in Palawan

Published January 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

Astoria Palawan has embarked on a ₱650-million expansion effort, as its parent, Astoria Hotels & Resorts (AHR) firm sees a 20 percent growth in occupancy rate in the next three years due to the continued rise in the number of tourists visiting Puerto Princesa.

Vivian Ng, COO of AHR, said the company saw the need to further upgrade the facilities of Astoria Palawan so it can take advantage of the growth in tourist arrivals being seen by Puerto Princesa across segments.

“In the next three years, our growth drivers will be the day-tour packages, the MICE (meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions) market, European leisure travelers and weekend family staycations. We are hoping to increase occupancy by 20% across the board by addressing these different market segments and targeting market by seasonal promotions,” Ng shared.

AHR is bullish on the tourism prospects of Puerto Princesa, especially with development projects being undertaken by the national and local governments in the area. These include the completion of the Puerto Princesa International Airport, the upgrade of the seaport that will attract more international cruise ships, the widening of the city roads to six lanes, and a street lighting project so tourists can continue to enjoy the city even at night.

In 2018, around 1.8 million tourists visited Palawan, up 21 percent from 2017, and 1.278 million of them went to Puerto Princesa. The city’s main attraction is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, adjudged as one of the new “Seven Wonders of the World.”

The General Manager of Astoria Palawansaid part of the fresh ₱650-million investment will go to the construction of a new 52-room building that has its own private pool, a children’s playroom and a laundry room for guests.

Astoria Palawan will also upgrade the leisure features of the resort so it can promote snorkeling around the sandbar nearby and around the resort, as well as launch eco-cultural activities. It will also unveil a new seafood restaurant to be called “The Habitat.” The resort will also have a new infinity pool.

These progressive facilities are expected to be completed by mid-2020. “The expansion will be finished around the time the new four-lane highway expands access to Astoria Palawan,” Astoria Palawan’s General Manager said.

Astoria Palawan currently offers 150 rooms. During the 2nd Subaraw Biodiversity Festival held in the first two weeks of November, AHR launched the Astoria Palawan Premier Villas, consisting of six villas with 30 rooms facing the scenic Sulu Sea.

AHR President and CEO Jeffrey Ng earlier said Astoria Palawan’s occupancy rate was hitting 80-plus percent already. “So we think with that kind of rate, it’s just but necessary for us to expand now in time for completion probably mid of next year.”

“With the tremendous growth of the city, plus the completion of the Puerto Princesa International Airport, we expect more local and international tourist arrivals into Puerto Princesa. So we feel that 150 rooms is not enough.”

 
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