Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Thursday the Philippines might miss the government’s target to attract at least 7.4-million foreign tourists this year as the six-month closure of Boracay capped visitor arrivals.
The Duterte administration targets breaching the 7.4-million foreign tourists mark this year, a goal that was threatened when the President ordered a six-month closure of the island resort for environmental cleanup and rehabilitation.
Boracay officially reopened for business on Oct. 26, with limits on the number of tourists visiting the island to 19,000 per day.
“I’m not confident it will reach 7.4 million,” Puyat told reporters during a press conference in Makati City.
The Department of Tourism is looking at 7 million to 7.2 million foreign tourists arriving as likely more achievable for 2018.
“I m confident it will surpass last year’s, but I’m not confident it will reach the target,” Puyat said.
In 2017, around 6.6 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines.
“Although [the number of tourist arrivals] is increasing, we have to admit that the closure of Boracay affected arrivals—It was a top tourist destination and it was closed for six months,” Puyat said.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon noted around 500,000 potential foreign visitors dropped their plans of visiting the island resort during Boracay’s six-month closure.
“People have to understand that while we are able to divert some of the traffic to Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan there might be some who canceled ... altogether,” Bengzon said.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.