The six-month shutdown of Boracay Island significantly contributed to the “sluggishness” in the economic growth of Western Visayas, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-6).
The region’s economy slowed down to 6.1 percent last year from 8.6 percent in 2017, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-6) showed.
NEDA-6 Director Ro-Ann Bacal said the temporary closure of the world-famous resort island in Malay, Aklan affected the region’s tourist arrivals.
She noted that the number of tourists who visited Boracay last year was lower by almost 900 thousand compared to 2017.
In a previous report by IMT NEWS, the Department of Tourism (DOT-6) attributed the decrease to the closure of Boracay.
“Less customers for hotels and restaurants meant less orders for food items, including rice, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, etc., not to mention pasalubong items. Less demand for the products meant less consumption income for affected families,” Bacal said.
The closure also affected the revenue collections by local government units (LGUs).
“Basing only from collections of terminal and environmental fees, at an average daily tourist arrival then of about 5,941, the LGUs experienced losses of about P1.93 million daily or P57.92 million per month or an estimated P347.52 million for the 6 months,” Bacal explained.
“The loss of this revenues, she said, “meant that programs and projects that would have been charged to this local fiscal resource were not realized.”
Boracay was closed to tourists from April to October to pave the way for its rehabilitation.
The region’s economic growth was presented on April 25 in Iloilo City.
After the presentation, Bacal discussed several ways to overcome the sluggishness experienced last year.
She urged LGUs and government agencies to speed up the implementation of infrastructure projects, improve the utilization of fiscal resources to pursue the region’s priority programs and projects, and to intensify efforts in attracting investors to establish their ventures in the region.
Bacal also called on local leaders to continually have a more competitive outlook in governance, and to relentlessly deliver the needed social services to populations in need.
The director is positive that region’s economy will bounce back this year.IMT