By Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star) Updated October 26, 2011 12:00 AM
Nanning, China – Philippine representatives made a pitch for Puerto Princesa at a trade and investment exposition here over the weekend to attract Chinese businessmen to pour in investment in the city that boasts of its world-famous subterranean river.
“We want our Chinese friends and those from other countries to come and visit Puerto Princesa,” said Rebecca Labit, assistant city administrator, as she spoke in front of Chinese businessmen at the China-ASEAN EXPO on Saturday afternoon.
The 8th CAEXPO is being held in this capital city of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The trade exposition is being held concurrent with the 8th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
Puerto Princesa is the Philippines’ “City of Charm” in this annual exposition participated in by member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In a separate interview at the exposition, City Tourism Council president Felisa Torres said Puerto Princesa’s showcase in the CAEXPO also helps in the country’s bid for the city’s Subterranean River National Park to be part of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature.”
Torres said the city’s attractions have always been ecotourism and biodiversity.
She noted that there are 25 million Chinese tourists annually and if only Puerto Princesa could attract 10 percent of these, it would mean 2.5 million tourist arrivals – a big boost to the present 3.3 million tourists who visit the country every year.
But according to Torres, more than just the tourists, city representatives also want to attract investors into the city. “Maybe at first they would just visit but eventually they could set up shop there,” she said.
In her presentation in front of Chinese investors, Labit said Puerto Princesa is the greenest city in the country. “We ensure you that what you will breathe there is pure, unadulterated fresh air,” Labit boasted.