BORACAY EARNS RECORD P1-BILLION IN FIRST QUARTERBoracay 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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