ILOILO CITY—Tourist arrivals in Boracay Island could hit the one million mark this year, well ahead of the 2013 target, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Tourist arrivals from January to November last year reached 813,708, 14.56 percent higher than the 713,738 arrivals recorded over the same period in 2010, DOT data showed.
December is among the peak months on the island and the 2011 total could reach more than 900,000 arrivals.
Revenues from tourism in Boracay were also expected to surpass P14 billion as earnings from January to October already reached P13.775 billion.
Helen Camarista, officer in charge of the DOT in Western Visayas, said Boracay has become more attractive to tourists because the island now offers more leisure activities and experiences aside from its famous white beach and crystal clear waters.
Camarista said the island continues to be a party-themed destination but at the same time a family-oriented island-resort.
Tourist arrivals have been boosted by direct international flights between key cities in China and South Korea and the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan. More domestic flights have also been added going to Caticlan, the jump-off point to the 1,032-hectare island.
Domestic tourists continue to compose the bulk of tourist arrivals reaching 437,003 from January to November last year. The number of foreign tourists reached 319,425 while overseas-based Filipinos accounted for 61,280 arrivals.
Among foreign arrivals, East Asians continued to dominate with the most visitors coming from Korea (98,635), followed by Taiwan (69,030) and China (58,800).
The others came from the United States (13,397), Australia (9,121), Russia (7,708), United Kingdom (6,069), Japan (5,621), Germany (4,955) and Hong Kong (4,501).
The Aklan government earlier targeted a million tourists in Boracay by 2013.
The Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan is undergoing a P12.9-billion renovation and development being undertaken by the San Miguel Corp.-owned TransAire Development Holdings Inc. under a Build Operate and Transfer scheme with a 25-year concession period renewable for another 25 years.
The upgrading of the airport includes the installation of night landing facilities that will also allow landing even during bad weather. It will also include the improvement of the terminal building, extension of the runway, widening and the development of new landing facilities including the construction of a new passenger building, vehicular parking area and other facilities.
Tourism officials have also been upbeat about the tourism potential of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.