Tourism department not changing arrival target despite Boracay closure
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said a target of 7.5 million tourist arrivals for 2018 will not be adjusted despite the looming temporary closure of Boracay Island as there are other destinations which can attract foreigners.
"The target will still be the same. It’s still 7.5 million,” she said in an interview with reporters.
In a news conference in Quezon City, Teo said they received reports foreign tourists scheduled to visit Boracay have rebooked to other tourist destinations.
“If we open it ( Boracay) in less than six months, the losses are going to be smaller,” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Boracay closed on April 26 to begin a clean-up of the top Philippine tourist spot which he labelled a "cesspool" due to pollution improper sewage.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is promoting alternative tourist spots such as Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte and Samal Island in Davao del Norte.
The DOT is also pushing for Faith Tourism sector as the next major event is the arrival of the Image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Manila next month. It is expected to attract at least a million devotees.
Teo clarified the DOT's plan of shortening the closure of Boracay from to four months from six months was not prompted by a bid to host the Miss Universe pageant again.
She said they are aiming for a shorter clean-up period to ease effects of the temporary closure to the workers and residents of Boracay. DMS