Boracay logs 16,487 visitors in February, the most since pandemic reopening

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Boracay logs 16,487 visitors in February, the most since pandemic reopening
This February 2021 photo shows tourists in Boracay.
Malay Municipal Tourism Office / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly 16,500 tourists visited the world-renowned island of Boracay in February, the highest number of visitors since it gradually reopened in June 2020.

Boracay recorded a total of 16,487 visitors, an 84-percent decline from the 103,834 visitors in the same period last year, according to a data released by the Malay Municipal Tourism Office on Monday.

Tourist arrival data also showed that 10,446 of the February 2021 visitors were from the National Capital Region.

A total of 14,620 traveled by air while 1,767 and 23 traveled by land and sea, respectively.

The February 2021 tourist arrivals is the highest since the island welcomed back tourists, followed by the December 2020 tourist arrival of 15,307.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose Clemente III said these figures are still far from the arrivals before the pandemic was declared in March.

“There are indications that Boracay is picking up gradually,” Clemente said in a text message to Philstar.com.

“Resorts are posting consistent numbers. Of course, it is still a far cry from what the arrivals were before but at least we’re seeing some activity,” he added.

Philippine Travel Agencies Association Michelle Taylan also said the volume of tourists may not be the same as before but at least people are now considering visiting Boracay.

“I guess as long as protocols will loosen up Boracay island reopening will be a success,” she said in a text message.

Pre-pandemic, the world-renowned island is among the biggest drivers of tourists in the country.

The famous white sand beach was always crowded and the resorts and water activities were almost fully-booked all-year round.

Boracay was just slowly getting back on its feet from a six-month shutdown for its rehabilitation in October 2018 when the coronavirus pandemic happened, prompting another closure and hurting the island’s top source of livelihood anew.

It first opened to visitors from the Western Visayas region on June 16 and then expanded this to include tourists from the National Capital Region last October 1.

“The reopening of Boracay to new market sources signals a gathering momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. We are pleased that the BIATF and the LGUs of the Province of Aklan and Municipality of Malay have agreed to put health and safety as the priority as we carefully and safely welcome more guests to the island,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in September.

Pre-pandemic tourist arrivals in Boracay

In 2019, Boracay was among the top tourist destinations of the country with 2,034,599 visitors. However, in 2020, it only attracted a total of 334,455 visitors, given the nearly seven-month closure.

A report furnished by the Malay Municipal Tourism Office to Philstar.com showed that only 145,658 foreign tourists visited Boracay in 2020, down 99.99% from the previous year, which recorded 1,037,619. Overseas Filipino worker visitors that year totaled to 16,538, a 74-percent decrease from the 64,547 in 2019.

Despite the half-year closure in 2018, Boracay posted a total of 941,868 arrivals. Of which, 565,351 are international visitors; 354,558 and 21,959 are local and OFW tourists, respectively.

Meanwhile, Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said that based on the data based on the data from University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital and Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Boracay is the top destination for tourists from Metro Manila who have availed of the tourism department’s subsidized COVID-19 tests.

“As of 15 February 2021, there were 8,849 who successfully availed of the RT-PCR 50% subsidy with PCMC; while 4,335 successfully availed of the RT-PCR 50% subsidy with UP-PGH,” Allones said.

In a bid to jumpstart domestic tourism, the DOT and TPB coordinated with UP-PGH and PCMC to should the cost of RT-PCR tests. Domestic tourists can avail of the COVID-19 tests at P900 and P750, from the UP-PGH and PCMC, respectively.







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