March 16, 2022
MANILA — Tourist arrivals on Boracay Island appear to have reached its prepandemic levels amid the continued loosening of travel restrictions and COVID-19 alert levels.
The number of visitors to the resort island in Aklan province from March 1 to March 9 reached 41,176, including 40,374 domestic tourists, 357 overseas Filipino workers and 445 foreigners, according to data from the Malay municipal tourism office.
The average daily arrivals reached 4,575 for the first nine days of the month. This is within the average daily arrival of 4,000 to 6,000 tourists recorded before the pandemic was declared in March 2020.
It is also higher than last month’s daily average of 2,889 and the pandemic-high of 3,664 visitors in December last year.
Tourist arrivals reached 80,882 in February and 113,596 last December.
Despite the continued surge in tourist numbers, foreign arrivals, which comprised about half of visitors before the pandemic, remained minimal.
Fully vaccinated foreign tourists from visa-free countries had been allowed into the country starting Feb. 10 with 434 foreigners visiting Boracay last month.
Limited flights to PH
From March 1 to March 9, 445 foreign tourists visited the island including 106 from the United States, 31 from Canada, 28 from the United Kingdom and 22 from Germany.
Fully vaccinated tourists, both domestic and foreign, are allowed on the island by presenting vaccination certificates or cards aside from a confirmed hotel booking. They can also avail of free COVID-19 booster shots provided by the government.
Several business owners earlier said foreign tourists had not yet come in bigger numbers due to limited flights to the Philippines and the high cost of travel during the pandemic.
The 1,032-hectare island, which is dependent on its tourism industry, is among the tourist destinations worst hit by the absence of tourists for nearly two years.
Visitors from Western Visayas have been allowed on the island starting June 16, 2020. Boracay opened to visitors from outside the region almost four months later.
Businesses have yet to recover from the slump, with many establishments forced to suspend operations or shut down due to the absence of tourists.