Boracay Island has already hit the 1-million mark in tourist arrivals in the first semester of 2023 and is optimistic that it can exceed the 1.8 million target for this year.
“We meet the one million mark and we are not expecting that much because the target was 1.8 million. If this will be the trend, we will exceed two million at the end of the year,” said Mayor Frolibar Bautista in an interview on Sunday at the sidelines of the Central Philippines Tourism Expo held in Iloilo City.
Data showed that from January to June 17, the island recorded 1,040,847 arrivals consisting of 199,098 foreign visitors; 816,426 local tourists and 25,323 overseas Filipino workers.
For the same period last year, around 850,047 guests visited the island.
Bautista attributed the high arrivals to their hosting of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits (MICE).
He said that from the 20 percent share of foreign tourists, they expect it to increase to 30 percent once visitors from South Korea and China start coming in next month.
Malay chief tourism operations officer Felix G. delos Santos Jr. said that most of their pre-pandemic guests were from the international market.
But with only one direct flight coming in from China and Korea, their record showed higher domestic guests.
Most of their foreign guests are Koreans, Chinese, Americans and those from countries in Europe, Delos Santos said.
He said that in terms of arrivals, their tourism industry is now 80 percent recovered and the resumption of direct international flights is one factor to achieve the 100 percent recovery rate.
Delos Santos said currently, they have 376 operational accommodation establishments, which is lower than the 398 before the pandemic.
Bautista said they have not imposed new protocols for guests visiting the island and even wearing of face mask is optional. (PNA)