Western Visayas continues to attract tourists this year despite the six-month closure of Boracay Island and is optimistic to reach its tourist arrivals target by the end of 2018.
Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Regional Director Helen Catalbas said on Wednesday, Dec. 19, that although they have yet to consolidate the reports from the provinces, they are looking at hitting at least 5.8 million arrivals this year.
According to her, despite the huge arrivals decline during the closure of Boracay in Aklan between April and October, Western Visayas was able to “recover” through its other destinations.
“We have other attractive destinations in the region. They have all increasing tourist arrivals,” Catalbas said, adding that one of the major contributors is Negros Occidental.
The shutdown of the island-destination was the government’s measure to give way for the rehabilitation of the area, which was earlier described by President Rodrigo Duterte as a “cesspool.”
The DOT-6 earlier noted that following the closure of Boracay Island, other provinces in Western Visayas needed to increase their tourist arrivals by a total of at least 1.2 million this year to compensate for whatever losses incurred.
In 2017, about 5.8 million tourists visited Region 6, higher than the target of 5.5 million. DOT-6 is working on increasing the figure to 6.1 million in 2019.PNA