BORACAY EARNS RECORD P1-BILLION IN FIRST QUARTER

Boracay Island, June 5, 2003 -- The island paradise of Boracay, the 
country's no. 1 tourist destination generated a whopping R1 billion revenue 
in just four months (Jan.-April) from visitor-arrivals that reached an 
all-time high for the first time in seven years.

Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores attributed the huge influx of 
tourists in Boracay to the dreaded Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) 
that hit holiday destinations abroad, prompting visitors to choose the 
Philippines instead of traveling to these places.

"The increase in tourist arrivals last summer was boosted by the huge 
number of local tourists who decided to spend their vacation in Boracay 
instead of going out of the country due to the SARS scare," he noted.

Domestic tourists topped the list of visitors to the island during the 
first trimester of the year, representing a share of 103,449 out of the 
total bulk of arrivals at 130,527. The month of April registered the 
highest number of arrivals at 61,191. Of these, 56,471 were Filipinos.

Gov. Miraflores said the significant number of tourists boosted the 
economic development of the province.

He expressed confidence that if good business in Boracay continues, this 
year's arrivals will surely break the 2002 record of 300,792 and surpass 
last year's earnings of P2.3 billion.

Travel to the island has been made more convenient and accessible with 
recent developments such as the opening of the nautical highway from Manila 
to Caticlan, providing an affordable trip to Boracay via roll-on, rolloff 
(RORO); the newly-improved Caticlan Jetty Port Terminal; and the expansion 
and improved security in the Caticlan and Kalibo airports.

Citing the tourism boom, DoT Secretary Richard Gordon said that it only 
proves that tourists now have a renewed confidence in the Philippines as a 
safe destination.

He urged Boracay stakeholders to take care of the island which is an 
opportunity of a lifetime. He said that its facilities should be improved 
further by putting up number identification in boats for tourist protection 
and efficient water transport service, among others.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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