Despite the temporary shuttering of one of the country’s tourism hotspots for rehabilitation, the number of international tourists visiting the Philippines has increased by 11.3 percent for the first seven months of 2018. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Tuesday that the closure of Boracay island in April has not impacted the flow of tourists, despite the many concerns that it would.
Puyat was appointed Department of Tourism Secretary in May, meaning her term has not yet seen the resort island Boracay running. The shutdown of Boracay was to rehabilitate the island and address growing environmental concerns plaguing the small community.
“I was very worried because of the closure of Boracay, that’s why I was surprised with the figure came from the Philippine Statistics Authority that despite the closure of Boracay, tourism arrivals increased,” Puyat told reporters.
Citing the same statistical reports, Puyat revealed that most of our international visitors came from Korea, who make up a 21.76 percentage share of all visitors from January to July of 2018. Nearly 1 million Korean nationals have visited this year so far. Tourists from China and The United States of America also made up a large percentage of the country’s visitors.
Puyat accredits the positive growth in tourism to management by the Department of Tourism and talks held with stakeholders to promote different communities. Though visiting Boracay was not possible, a tourist would still have a memorable time seeing the rest of the Philippines.
“They were diverted to other alternative destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Bicol, even Siargao,” Puyat said.