South Korea, China top sources of Boracay int’l tourists

Boy Ryan B. Zabal
South Korea, China top sources of Boracay int’l tourists
Philippine tourism officials hope to attract 1.7 million tourists this year to the world-famous island resort

AKLAN, Philippines – South Korea and China are the top sources of international tourists to Boracay Island, according to government data on foreign visitors to the world-famous beach resort.

International tourist arrivals also rose by 29.47% to 558,014 from January to July, from 431,007 in the same period last year, the latest data from the Malay Municipal Tourism Office showed.

Tourism officials said South Korea was Boracay’s top foreign tourist market with 193,536 arrivals from January to July in 2016, up by 13.5% from last year’s 170,408 visitors. In 2015, there were 292,174 arrivals from the country – 38% of the total foreign tourists in Boracay Island.

China came in second with 187,089 visitors, followed by Taiwan (38,300), Malaysia (18,336), and the United States (15,290).

Malaysia accounted for the largest number of Boracay visitors from Southeast Asia, followed by Singapore with 6,790. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Singapore have direct regional flights to Kalibo International Airport.

Domestic tourists surged by 5%, growing to 538,928 arrivals from 512,840 in the same period last year.

Tourists from East Asian countries Japan, China, Hongkong, Taiwan, and South Korea made up more than half of the total international travelers to Boracay. They accounted for 429,800 arrivals or 77% of the foreign tourists.

Visitors from Southeast Asian countries, meanwhile, came in second with 28,333 visitors, followed by tourists from Canada, Mexico, and USA with 20,434.

Meanwhile, the total number of visitors to Boracay in the first 7 months of the year grew by 15, or to 1,126,755 from the 973,434 arrivals in the same period last year.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) hopes to attract 1.7 million tourists by yearend, higher than the 1,560,106 total visitors to the island last year, with more cruise ships and direct international flights to Aklan province to facilitate this.

Tourist numbers from South Korea are also expected to increase in Boracay with the announcement of a direct international flight from Cebu Pacific. The new daily flight will connect Incheon, South Korea, to Kalibo, Aklan, beginning October 1.

Cebu Pacific’s daily Incheon-Kalibo is expected to boost the region’s steady tourism growth, according to the region’s top tourism official, Helen Catalbas. 

She said this is a “manifestation that more Korean tourists recognize Western Visayas as their destination in the Philippines with Kalibo as the nearest gateway to Boracay Island.”

The Cebu Pacific daily flight will carry 180 passengers using the Airbus A320 aircraft from Kalibo International Airport to Incheon International airport, the largest airport in South Korea. –

“Cebu Pacific gears toward bringing travellers for business and leisure to magnificent countries at the lowest fare in the market. The new Kalibo-Incheon route opens opportunities for passengers to explore must-see places in Incheon such as Wolmi-Do Island, Landing Memorial Hall and Jeondeungsa Temple, among others,” says Atty. JR Mantaring, CEB Vice President for Corporate Affairs.

As a result, Cebu Pacific now offers flights to 36 domestic and 30 international destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. –

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