Boracay Island

Diplomats urge Boracay execs to offer Halal food to attract more foreign tourists

Jun Aguirre

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Diplomats urge Boracay execs to offer Halal food to attract more foreign tourists

FOR MORE TOURISTS. Diplomats joined hands with the local government unit, the Global Tourism Business Associations, and the Department of Tourism in a show of camaraderie and commitment to promote Boracay as a tourism attraction.

Jun Aguirre/Rappler

The Department of Tourism says they will coordinate with the Department of Science and Technology to orient restaurants about Halal food

AKLAN, Philippines – A group of diplomats urged the local government of Malay in Aklan to consider offering Halal food in order to attract more foreign tourists.

Most discussions were presented during the Boracay Diplomatic and Business Forum held at the Belmont Hotel-Boracay on Friday, April 19. Among the diplomats who came was Megawati DatoPaduka Haji Manan of Brunei, Agus Widjojo of Indonesia, Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino of Malaysia, Lai Thai Binh of Vietnam, Imtiaz Ahmad Kazi of Pakistan, Sadre Alam of India, and Wallace Minn-Gan Chow of Taiwan.

Halal food is any food deemed permissible under Islamic law, as defined in the Quran.

Department of Trade and Industry data indicate that there is a $3.3 global market for Halal food.

The Global Tourism Business Associations organized the business forum in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, the Aklan provincial government, and the Malay LGU.

Widjojo of Indonesia told the Rappler in an interview that Halal food is not just meant to be safe to eat by Islams but also of Christians as well.

“It can be eaten practically by anybody and is safe,” he said.

Western Visayas Tourism Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said that they will coordinate with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to provide Halal food orientation to restaurants on the resort island. For several years, the DOST has been conducting food safety training for several restaurants in Boracay.

Malaysia’s Castelino, meanwhile, said that while they support the call to offer Halal food, he would like to improve airports, especially for Boracay.

In 2014, Air Asia introduced the Kuala Lumpur-Kalibo International Airport and vice versa. However, this was suspended at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel was mostly restricted.

“I will ask AirAsia what the current status is now and the possibility of its resumption,” he said.

Indian ambassador Alam said that India has the potential to attract tourists from abroad. He said that there is a lot of potential for Indian tourists to go to Boracay, but he hopes the Philippine government will waive the visa requirements.

“Our Indian nationals are eager to travel to the Philippines but many of them are having difficulty going to the country because of the needed visa,” he said.

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista said that he welcomes the development as he hopes that this would attract more foreign tourists to come to Boracay.

According to the Malay Tourism Office, at least 630,648 tourists visited Boracay from January 1 to April 15 in 2024. The Malay LGU targets 2.3 million tourists this year 2024.

The top ten foreign tourists come from:

  • South Korean – 50,329
  •  China – 22,324
  •  United States of America – 13, 622
  •  Taiwan – 7,864
  •  Australia – 5,329
  •  Russia – 5,286
  •  United Kingdom – 4,393
  •  Germany – 3,592
  •  Japan – 2,872
  •  Canada – 2,837

The Travel + Leisure website recently named Boracay as the 13th Best White Beach in the world. –

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