On August 6 to 7, 2019, the Puerto Princesa City Tourism Office and USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project held a workshop on strengthening heritage, culture, and arts for tourism promotion. Fifty-eight (58) participants from the Puerto Princesa City and Palawan provincial governments, barangays, and the private sector underwent a process which employs storytelling and meaning-making to look into the significance of various heritage sites.

USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project organized a learning visit for Legazpi City to Puerto Princesa City on June 18 to 20, 2019, as part of its ongoing technical assistance to finalize Legazpi City’s tourism code. The activity facilitated learning between the two cities revolving around Puerto Princesa’s strategic tourism plan, enabling laws and policies, management of five community-based sustainable tourism destinations, and Legazpi City’s tourism development master plan and processes involved in tourism code formulation.

Two-hundred (200) seaweed growers from Puerto Princesa City and Palawan Province participated in the 2nd Palawan Seaweed Industry Summit on May 9 to10, 2019 in Puerto Princesa City. The summit was jointly organized by the Puerto Princesa Seaweed Network, the Puerto Princesa City Government, and USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project. The summit sought to strengthen access of seaweed growers to more lucrative markets and modern production and processing technologies.

The city government of Puerto Princesa held an Investment Forum on March 28, 2019. Around 100 representatives from business groups, national government agencies, and the city government participated in the event. USAID Deputy Mission Director Patrick Wesner attended the event, and in his speech highlighted the private sector’s and civil society organizations’ participation in the development of an investment road map for the city to ensure inclusivity, accountability and sustainability of interventions.

The Puerto Princesa City Government is set to transfer 33 previously private-owned real property units to its own name and increase the city’s revenue/investment base by PhP50 million. This move is a result of the Asset Management Technical Working Group’s (TWG) meeting with the Bureau of Internal Revenue Officer, Commission on Audit Provincial Director and Registry of Deeds personnel on March 11, 2019. The TWG and involved agencies settled concerns related to procedures and payments of real property taxes and fees.

The Technical Working Group (TWG) on Climate Disaster Risk Assessment of Puerto Princesa City gained additional knowledge and skills in assessing climate and disaster risks, and in mainstreaming resilient development in land use planning after participating in a technical workshop on February 20 to 22, 2019. The workshop was facilitated by a team composed of resource persons from the Policy Development Group and Region 4B of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), and USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project.

The Puerto Princesa City Government, headed by the City Tourism Office and City Tourism Council, successfully held the 2019 Puerto Princesa Tourism Stakeholders Forum on February 1, 2019 at the City Coliseum in Puerto Princesa City. As part of the city government's efforts to strengthen accountable and transparent local governance in tourism, the forum gathered 400 local industry tourism stakeholders comprising of representatives from hotels, resorts, restaurants, transportation providers, tour operators, travel agencies, boat operators, souvenir shops and community-based tourism sites.

The Puerto Princesa City Government recorded PhP197 million worth of business tax collections for this year’s January business registration period. This is a 17 percent increase from last year’s PhP186 million worth of business tax collections. With the technical assistance of USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project in streamlining the city’s business permits and licensing system, the city government has demonstrated a steady increase in revenues and improved services for the past two years.

On December 13, 2018, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron institutionalized through an Executive Order (EO) the regular inter-agency coordination meetings among relevant government agencies and local tourism industry stakeholders to strengthen local tourism governance. The EO formally constitutes the Tourism Sector Inter-Agency Coordination Committee comprising of national government agencies providing support to the local tourism industry. The EO also mandates the regular conduct of inter-agency meetings to discuss issues and concerns of the local tourism sector.

On December 14, 2018, the Puerto Princesa City Tourism Office (CTO) organized the first-ever Community-based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) Convention attended by more than 300 representatives from 28 CBST groups and barangays. In one of its sessions, USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Tourism Specialist Dr. Randi Alampay gave a presentation about the basic principles on sustainable destination management for CBSTs, with specific case studies on successfully-managed CBST sites in Cebu and Bohol.