BORACAY ISLAND—Tourist arrivals on Boracay Island are expected to reach 1.2 million by the end of this year, affirming earlier projections that a Chinese travel ban will have minimal impact on the popular island-resort.
Tourist arrivals on the island reached 1,023,429 from January to October this year, according to data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) Boracay office.
Tim Ticar, officer in charge of DOT-Boracay, said the arrivals for November and December are expected to reach 200,000.
“We have surpassed our expectations for this year,” Ticar told the Inquirer.
The bulk of tourist arrivals from January to October this year are domestic tourists reaching 594,483, followed by foreign tourists (394,104) and overseas Filipinos (34,842).
The 10-month data for this year already surpassed the 908,574 tourists recorded last year.
Tourism and local officials had targeted to reach one million tourists by 2013 but the mark was breached on Oct. 26.
Koreans comprised the biggest number of foreign tourists on the island at 126,075, followed by the Taiwanese (82,425).
China, which imposed a ban on travel groups to the Philippines amid the diplomatic row over the Scarborough Shoal, came third with 73,238 arrivals. It was followed by the United States (15,111) and Australia (11,501).
The total number of tourists from China from January to October this year is higher than the 68,824 in 2011.
“Individual tourists from China are still coming and this shows that the Philippines and Boracay remain attractive to Chinese tourists despite the ban,” Ticar said.
“It affected us a bit but the drive to target other markets worked. Tourists from other countries more than made up for the canceled bookings,” said Nenette Aguirre-Graf, who operates the 26-room Boracay Beach Resort.
Ticar said tourists from Taiwan, Korea and other countries boosted the arrivals.
He said the marketing and promotional campaigns were also effective in getting more visitors from other markets.
The DOT’s slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” has drawn positive feedback from foreign tour operators, according to Ticar.
Boracay was earlier named the world’s top island destination by the prestigious Travel and Leisure Magazine in its annual World’s Best Awards. It bested the popular Indonesian destination, Bali Island, which ranked second.