ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Tourism to get a boost from Boracay’s reopening
Tourist arrivals are likely to get a boost in the fourth quarter of the year as world-famous Boracay island has reopened for business after a six-month environmental cleanup and rehabilitation.
It may even spur the likelihood of meeting the Duterte administration’s goal of having 7.4 million foreign tourists this year, according to the Tourism Congress of the Philippines.
“It will definitely help boost the tourism figures for the fourth quarter,” Tourism Congress president Jose Clemente III told GMA News Online on Friday.
A total of 4.95-million foreign tourists entered the Philippines in January to September, up 8.2 percent year-on-year, data from the Department of Tourism showed.
The numbers are 2.45 million short of the target for 2018.
Boracay’s closure had an impact on tourism arrivals, Clemente noted, but the industry executive is staying positive that there could still be a turnaround during the last three months of 2018, especially now that the premiere tourist destination is back in business.
“The 7.4 million may still be attainable if we get a surge towards the end of the year. But the closure definitely affected arrivals,” he said.
The island resort, however, will never be the same with new rules in place to achieve sustainable tourism.
For one, the number of tourists in the island is now capped at 19,200 and the arrivals at 6,405 per day unlike before when tens our thousands of tourists are either on the beach or doing other tourism related activities.
When the island was officially reopened on Friday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat gave a speech and encouraged visitors to be responsible tourists.
“It is the key to the preservation of this national treasure. The Boracay experience is the ultimate lesson in balancing development and protecting the environment. The lessons learned here are not for Boracay alone but also for the other island destinations around our beautiful country,” she said.
Beach parties, building huge sand castles—a popular background for selfie enthusiasts— will no longer be the usual fare, as well as and tattoo parlors and massage sessions with all business establishments pushed back 30 meters from the water line.
“I believe in capping arrivals to avoid ‘overtourism’ and maintaining the sustainability of destinations. It also forces us to develop new destinations,” Clemente said.
On reopening day, 157 “accommodation establishments” have been allowed by the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force to accept visitors as part of the strategy of limiting the number of tourists in the island.
“Our expectations are that Boracay will slowly regain its tourism arrivals as resorts become accredited again,” Clemente said.
“We hope that the visitors and residents keep the island pristine after the rehabilitation is completed,” he said.
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