Boracay back in business

SPECIAL PROMOTION

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A better and more sustainable Boracay is set to welcome back visitors on October 26 and usher in newer and bigger markets awaiting the island’s full recovery. Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito Bengzon Jr. said the Department of Tourism (DOT) is well on track to meet its 7.4 million target after the island was closed for six months due to environmental concerns.

Bengzon Jr said the temporary closure of the island, which was named as one of the world’s top three islands in 2017,  also became an opportunity to introduce and boost travellers’ awareness of other tourism destinations in the country, which was key to retaining the country’s positive month-on-month performance on tourism arrivals.

“The fact that we have kept ourselves afloat is a very strong reflection of how resilient the industry is and how quick we are to make adjustments with our marketing and promotions. It also a very strong communication of how prepared the other destinations are in welcoming the influx of tourists who otherwise would have gone to Boracay,” Bengzon said.

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DOT points

“The DOT executive earlier stated that despite the closure of one of the country’s flagship destinations, brand equity remains strong as this has been continuously built on for decades and has ensured stability such that demands from the global market also remains significantly high even with sudden setbacks.

A worldwide advertising campaign is set to be launched by the DOT in the following months, to be accompanied by strengthened promotions for various destinations around the Philippines, including the much-awaited re-opening of Boracay.

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Environmental initiatives
Bengzon said this campaign aims to entice more travellers to visit more destinations in addition to Boracay, as training and workshops for better sustainability practices are now being disseminated to industry players all over the country. He believes this approach will guarantee better services are provided to future clients.

“When you look at it overall, we really have to make sure that when we roll it out, when we relaunch Boracay, it would be a better destination, more environment-friendly, and it will be more secure and we have to make sure that, more important than anything else, we avoid the problems that led to its closure in the first place.”

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Sustainability on track

The DOT’s thrust for sustainability is also accompanied by infrastructure developments aimed at the same goal. Among these developments are the new Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and an evident build-up in the accommodation sector expected to expand the destinations’ capacity in welcoming visitors from all over the world. Bengzon assures travellers of better visitor experiences with the DOT’s projects already laid out for the coming months.

“For our part, we will make sure that the accommodation establishments comply with the DENR/DILG requirements before they qualify for DOT accreditation.  Manpower training programs will be extended to the accredited establishments so that the frontline services are much improved prior to the closing. And lastly, we will have to work on very intensive marketing promotions.  So in our travel fairs, in our sales missions, Boracay will be showcased as a better destination for our markets.”

In 2017, foreign tourist arrivals reached 6,620,908 in total and in the first half of 2018, 3.706 million international arrivals were recorded, promising a positive run toward the 7.4 million goals by year end. With the reopening of Boracay, the country is looking forward to bringing in new markets as well as sustaining the growth of key markets: South Korea, China and the United States.

TRAVEL FACTS
For more information visit Tourism Philippines at www.tourismphilippines.gov.au
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