Sunday, June 10, 2012

Boracay tourist arrivals up despite China cancellations

ILOILO CITY—Cancellations of tourist bookings from China have failed to make a dent on tourist arrivals on Boracay Island for the first half of the year, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed.

Tourist arrivals from January to May this year reached 616,210, up by 43.18 percent compared to the 430,383 tourists who went to the island-resort during the same period last year.

Revenues recorded in the comparative period also increased by 43.18 percent from P7.911 billion last year to P11.328 billion this year.

Tourists from China, for the first half of the year, increased from 20,596 to 57,503 while those from Hong Kong also increased from 2,435 to 3,051 compared to last year.

Last month, resorts and hotels on Boracay Island reported cancellation of bookings of tourists from China amid the ongoing standoff over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

China is the third-biggest market for foreign tourists in Western Visayas following Korea and the United States.

But tourist arrivals from China last month still reached 4,415, higher than the 4,187 in the same month last year. Tourists from Hong Kong slightly dropped by almost half from 816 to 426.

“Whatever impact of the cancellations of tour packages from China was easily covered by tourists from other countries,” said Helen Catalbas, DOT regional director.

She said individual Chinese tourists not covered by tours were still coming.

“Tour operators from Taiwan even welcomed the slack in tour packages from China because of better packages and more rooms for their clients,” she said.

Tourists from Taiwan reached 43,042 from January to May this year, up from the 31,750 in the same period last year.

The DOT in Western Visayas will conduct a seminar for Taiwanese tour guides and operators staying in Boracay in preparation for more tourists from Taiwan.

She said tourism in the region would also be boosted with the start of direct international flights between Iloilo  and Hong Kong and Singapore.

More Scarborough Shoal news here.

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