AKLAN, Philippines – Aklan province, where the famous Boracay Island is located, lost up to P11.33 billion in tourist receipts due to coronavirus lockdowns, according to estimates from the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Without coronavirus, DOT said the province was projected to earn P6.94 billion from foreign tourists and P4.39 billion from local tourists in the last two months when lockdowns were imposed in many countries including the Philippines.
The estimates were based on tourist arrivals in Boracay Island during the same period last year.
The province was expected to suffer more losses in the coming months as the world continues to struggle with the pandemic.
In 2019, Aklan saw 2.2 million tourist arrivals and earned P62.5 billion in tourist receipts.
The province contributed a large chunk to the tourism income of the entire Western Visayas region, which saw almost 6 million tourist arrivals last year.
Western Visayas region loses P15 billion
Tourism regional director Helen Catalbas said the entire region missed over a million tourists and almost P15 billion tourist receipts in the last two months.
Thousands of tourists were also stranded in the region, but the local government units and foreign embassies have brought most of them home through rescue flights.
DOT said it assisted a total of 2,516 foreigners and 297 domestic tourists by arranging at least 51 flights from Iloilo, Bacolod, Kalibo and Caticlan airports.
There were still about a thousand more tourists stranded in the region, mostly foreigners, as of May 13. Catalbas said they were crafting an evacuation plan them.
Catalbas said they’re also working on rehabilitation and recovery plans for the region. The initiatives include livelihood enhancement for displaced tourism workforce, business continuity program for tourism MSMEs and community-based enterprises, capacity building for key stakeholders, and health and wellness of tourism frontliners in Western Visayas. – Rappler.com