Tourism was one of the industries that suffered greatly during the height of the pandemic. Destinations like El Nido, Palawan were obviously not spared by the ill-effects of the nearly two-year crisis, forcing local businesses to hit the pause button on their operations, or worse, close down altogether.
“The COVID-19 crisis caused a significant and dramatic fall to the tourism economy in El Nido. As the pandemic spread across the world, tourist and passenger numbers dropped to almost zero,” said Jean Codiñera, Vice President and Investor Relations Officer of Discovery World Corporation, and Director of Cay Islands Corporation.
Now that travel restrictions are easing up, El Nido, and other tourist-dependent areas, are getting ready to serve the incoming revenge travelers who are itching to take a vacation from their two-year “vacation”. According to Codiñera, it may be a good time for businesses in the area to unpause and start over again.
The Road to Recovery
El Nido remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Palawan Island for local and foreign travelers. Before the pandemic, the municipality recorded at least 31,000 visitors during the summer quarter of 2019. Current visitor numbers for the same period are comparatively a lot lower at over 4,200 but it is expected to climb as more tourists venture out to travel.
During his presentation at the Livable Cities Philippines webinar on “Revenge Travel: Post-Pandemic Tourist Boom,” Jose C. Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, projected that foreign tourist arrivals in the country are expected to exceed 1 million by the end of 2022.
As a homegrown company that develops, operates, and manages hotels and resorts across the country’s most beautiful destinations, Discovery World Corporation believes that understanding travel preferences and providing reliable online travel services will help propel El Nido’s local tourism to recovery. It can then lead to the reopening of businesses and hotels to provide jobs for tourism stakeholders.
Opening Business Opportunities
One of the properties of the corporation, The Shoppes at Vanilla Beach, is El Nido’s shopping paradise. It hopes to promote growth and rejuvenation of the tourism industry by giving tourists and businesses a place where they can buy and operate, respectively.
“At The Shoppes, we encourage our tenants to be flexible by helping them design new customer experiences,” said Codiñera. “At the same time, we help them promote their products and services through our online platforms, as well as the beautiful destination we are in. This helps bring in and encourage travelers seeking for vibrant experiences,” she added.
Current occupants at The Shoppes include McDonald’s, Hollywood Fashion, Unit 48 Mini Mart, The Organic Spa, Crossfit Hieroglyph, and Blue Iguana Bar. “El Nido will become a renewed destination, creating a multi-purpose environment that offers extensive leisure activities as well as other services, like office, residential, and cultural amenities. For Vanilla Beach, we will keep in mind our customers’ expectations, needs, and priorities,” said Codiñera.
Codiñera added that Discovery World’s decades of experience in property management will be able to help rebuild El Nido’s tourism industry and economy. She especially highlighted how their world-class training in customer and investor relations ensures the loyalty and trust of The Shoppes’ tenants and its future investors.
“We are also reviving El Nido’s social interaction scene through different activations or events for Vanilla Beach and The Shoppes such as Loco Lokal Bazaar, Halloween treats, and Movies on the beach,” she concluded.
A new and exciting experience is also coming to Vanilla Beach in 2023. Discovery Hospitality Corporation, a subsidiary of Discovery World, brings in a lifestyle and millennial-focused brand, Kip&Kin—a new concept of the hospitality group that combines hostel and hotel approach in one single property. The resort will hold 117 hotel rooms and 84 hostel beds. Offering majestic 360° views of the vast hillside of that part of El Nido and awe-inspiring sea, the resort’s pool will be positioned at the rooftop together with the bar and lounge for a wander-worthy experience.
Kip&Kin Vanilla Beach, El Nido will be the flagship property of the brand, with Siargao and San Vicente on the pipleline.
Discovery World Corporation is looking for partners to bring El Nido’s tourism industry back to life through The Shoppes at Vanilla Beach. Interested businesses may email [email protected] for lease inquiries.