DOT: Boracay welcomed 1.75 million tourists in 2022
ILOILO CITY — Tourism officials are hopeful for the full recovery of Boracay Island as visitors continue to flock to this resort island in Malay, Aklan, as health and travel restrictions are further eased.
Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed that at least 1.75 million people visited Boracay last year, an arrival record almost five times more than the 330,622 total visitors in 2021.
Domestic tourists, including foreigners living in the country, comprised the bulk of visitors at 1.59 million. Foreign tourists, on the other hand, reached 132,687. Most of the foreign visitors last year came from South Korea at 50,313 while Americans comprised the second biggest foreign arrival at 19,154.
Tourists come despite environmental issues on the island, including the presence of sinkholes as reported by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
In December, a report from the MGB Western Visayas revealed an increasing number of sinkholes in Boracay, owing to the acidity of the underground water and the island’s limestone.
Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, DOT regional director, said they were still waiting for the report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the impact of the sinkholes on business activities and development in Boracay.
“We defer to the expertise of the DENR when it comes to the assessment because we don’t even know how big the sinkholes are, [or] how significant the size the sinkholes are. I think we know that the whole island is limestone, and there’s a natural occurrence of sinkholes for an island like Boracay,” she said in a press conference on Tuesday.
The DOT also unveiled three new “tourism circuits” that it would promote this year. These are the Boracay biking tour, which features sightseeing and endurance clusters targeted for families and adventure lovers; food crawl involving full-course meals from local restaurants; and “wellness workation” for a relaxing retreat.
“The products that we have prioritized in 2023 are not the same as before when we only focused on sun and beach, and cultural tourism, among others, because we are also competing with other regions,” Rodriguez said.