BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – More than 47, 000 foreign and local tourists visited this resort island from February 1 to 20 this year.
Data from the Malay Tourism office showed that 163 of them were foreign tourists, mostly Europeans.
Domestic visitors comprised the bulk of arrivals. More than 22,000 came from the National Capital Region, followed by Calabarzon with 10,316, and 7,107 from Western Visayas, the region that covers the famous resort island.
The tourism office said 47,582 domestic visitors, including those from other regions, came this month.
Boracay, a premier beach destination, has been closed to foreign tourists in the middle of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this month, Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Rumulo-Puyat said the premier beach destination is now ready to accept foreign tourists.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores jumpstarted the island’s re-opening on February 1 by lifting the RT-PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated visitors. The national government’s move to lift mandatory quarantine for foreign arrivals is expected to spur recreational and business visits to the country.
Families of domestic tourists started arriving as early as October 2021 and continued in January 2022 despite a surge driven by the Omicron variant.
Puyat said the tourism department considers Boracay a prime subject for promotion because of its ability to attract both foreign and local tourists.
“For foreign tourists who want a booster shot against COVID-19, they are readily available for both foreign for walk-ins at the Watsons in Citymall-Boracay,” she said.
Dionisio Salme, past president of the Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI), a business organization here, said local businesses are looking forward to recovery.
“We thank the government for the reopening of Boracay and with the health protocols in place, we hope that the travel of tourists to and from Boracay will be seamless,” he said. – Rappler.com