Published on : Friday, January 25, 2019
The archipelago of over 7,000 islands saw the number of visitors jump by nearly 8 per cent over the previous year, with South Koreans leading the way as its top tourists.
This growth came without much help from Boracay, which was closed for a cleanup from April to October after President Rodrigo Duterte branded it a “cesspool” fouled by reckless development.
Before the closure, the tiny island’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters were seeing some two million sun worshippers a year.
Other spots like natural paradise Palawan and beach destination Siargao island saw a jump in foreign tourists during the closure.
Americans visitors to the former US colony were at one million.
“The challenging act of closing down Boracay… the country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise,” said Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
While South Korea led the pack with 1.6 million tourists, Chinese arrivals jumped by nearly 30 per cent over 2017 to hit 1.3 million, the Department of Tourism added.