Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat revealed that only seven tourists from Metro Manila have visited Boracay island on its opening day on October 1.
“Seven passengers from Manila has arrived today at the Caticlan Airport,” Puyat said in a media briefing.
She added that a total of 35 tourists from across the country arrived in the tourist destination during the opening day. This is a far cry from the island’s capacity of 19,000 per day.
“Boracay has a 19,000 carrying capacity a day. 4,474 rooms, and 204 accommodations have been given authorization as well,” she added.
Puyat said that they are now studying the possibility of allowing foreign tourists.
“Dry-run muna tayo. For example ang Boracay, nag bukas June 16. When they asked na mag open outside Western Visayas, pumayag naman kami dahil na-maintain nila ‘yong zero COVID,” she added.
Puyat says that they expect tourists to come on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
“I’m glass half full. Mabuti na paunti-unti muna. I’m expecting na dadami ‘yong tao sa Undas. Mahirap na biglang dagsaan tapos hindi ka prepared,” she said. “Kailangan talaga mag restart ang economy and ang tourism ang mabilis umahon. Resilient ang tourism industry.”
She also explained the need to reopen tourist destinations like Boracay island.
“Boracay is one of our number one tourist destinations. Last year, the tourism sector has employed 5.7 million people. 4.8 million ang na affect na, yung nawalan ng trabaho at bumawas ang sweldo,” she added.
“All the other tourist destinations are looking at Boracay and Baguio. And hopefully before Christmas, we can open up more with the concurrence of the LGU,” Puyat said.