Boracay Island in the Philippines is on track to exceed its annual tourist target of 1.8 million, having already recorded over 1 million visitors in the first half of 2023. In the period from January to June 17, the popular island destination witnessed 1,040,847 arrivals, including 199,098 international guests, 816,426 domestic visitors, and 25,323 overseas Filipino workers.
Mayor Frolibar Bautista credits the surge in tourist numbers to the island’s thriving meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibits (MICE) sector. He anticipates an increase in foreign tourists from the current 20 percent to 30 percent as travel from South Korea and China is expected to rise next month.
The island’s tourism operations chief, Felix G. delos Santos Jr., stated that despite the limitation of having only one direct flight from China and Korea, domestic tourism has flourished. The majority of foreign visitors are typically from Korea, China, the United States, and various European countries. He indicated that the tourism industry on the island is now 80 percent recovered, with the resumption of direct international flights considered a key factor in reaching full recovery.
Regarding accommodation, there are currently 376 operational establishments, slightly fewer than the pre-pandemic figure of 398. Despite the influx of tourists, there have been no new protocols imposed on guests, and even the wearing of face masks is optional.