Palawan’s Popularity Problem: An Interview with Photographer Duncan Murrell
This past fall (autumn for those outside North America), I was lured to Palawan, a culturally and ecologically rich archipelago in the Philippines made up of nearly 2,000 islands. Seeing the name pop up repeatedly on “world’s best islands” and “world’s best beaches” lists in recent years meant I wasn’t the only one who fell for the hype. Palawan’s Provincial Tourism Office estimates that 2.3 million tourists visited what it calls the Philippines’ “last frontier” in 2016, up 28 percent from 2015. 2017 numbers are expected to climb even higher.
Soon after landing on the main island, I saw some of the consequences of this recent tourism boom – rocks and debris washed onto roads during rainstorms because the surrounding hillsides had been cleared of trees, raw sewage running directly into the sea not far from where tourists snorkeled and swam, and workers scrambling around the clock to finish hastily constructed hotels in time for peak tourist season.
This is an excerpt from an article first published by Ethical Traveler. Read the original article here: The Perils of a Tourism Boom: Palawan’s Popularity Problem.