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Boracay's tourism revenues hit PhP9 billion

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The paradise island of Boracay earned a record-high PhP9.182 billion in revenues from the arrivals of nearly half a million foreign and local tourists in 2005, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Director Edwin Trompeta of the DOT-Western Visayas said the amount represented a 16.5 percent increase over the PhP7.882 billion recorded in 2004.

Data showed that visitor arrivals to the island famous for its white-sand beaches also grew by 16.5 percent to 499,457 in 2005 from 428,755 a year earlier.

The number of domestic travellers to the island went up by 10.5 percent to 321,893 in 2005 from 291,279 in 2004 while the volume of foreign guests soared by 28.7 percent to 155,744 from 121,023 on the back on increased arrivals from South Korea.

Korea topped the list of sources of foreign tourists, accounting for 65 percent of the total international arrivals. Korean visitors grew by 28.2 percent to 100,922 while guests from the United States, at a far second, increased by 10 percent to 9,083.

Other top sources of tourists in Boracay were China, with 5,680 visitors; Germany, 5,503; Japan, 4,777; United Kingdom, 4,661; Sweden, 2,924; Denmark, 2,585; Hong Kong, 2,554; and Canada, 2,244.

Trompeta said he is confident that tourist arrivals to Boracay would further increase in 2006 and in the coming years, with the completion of new world-class accommodation facilities such as the Shangri-La project.

At the same time, he claimed that the massive oil spill caused by the National Power Corp. (Napocor) barge 106 near Semirara Island in Antique in December 2005 is not an immediate threat to Boracy Island.

"This is due to the current clean-up efforts being done by the NAPOCOR. The company has announced that everything is being done to contain the oil spill and its immediate effects to the environment," he said.

Trompeta said the current weather prevailing in the area is also favorable to Boracay as the wind and waves are going away from the direction of Boracay. The amihan or northeast monsoon season will last until around May this year while the habagat or southwest monsoon season is from June to September.

"The long term effects of the oil spill is being anticipated in Boracay, with the local governments of Malay and Aklan and the various industry associations in the island taking a pro-active stance. This early, measures are being mulled to mitigate the effects of the spill to the island, if there is any," he said.FROM MANILA STANDARD TODAY