The Department of Tourism-Western Visayas will beef up marketing and promotion of other tourism sites around the region to present an ‘alternative' to Boracay because of the President's threat to close it down if perennial problems in the island are not solved.
DOT Regional Director Helen Catalbas said there have been no cancellations recorded in Boracay after the cleansing process.
However, the issue in Boracay should not be the reason to stop promoting it, along with other tourist attractions in the region, she added.
Early this week, Catalbas reported that there were 5.4 million tourists who visited Western Visayas in 2017, with the province of Aklan, where Boracay is situated, having 2.1 million visitors.
Combined records of Bacolod and Negros Occidental reached 1.6 million visitors, making it second to Aklan. With this record, Catalbas said Bacolod and Neg. Occ. could be a big help in attaining the 6.1 million tourist arrival target for 2018.
President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened to close down Boracay if perennial problems, including waste management, in the island are not solved within six months.
Catalbas said they are confident they can cleanse Boracay before the deadline, and they are still receiving reports of 4,500 to 5,000 visiting tourists a day in the island, with no cancellations two weeks after the cleansing operation started.
“We are not stopping the promotion and marketing of Boracay,” she said in an interview, “And we are very keen on monitoring cancellations as we also strengthen the marketing of other provinces.”
She said that if there are any cancellations or a decline in tourist visits in the island, it will be overtaken by the tourism strength of the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, as well as the province it belongs to.
“The purpose of marketing other places harder is to narrow the gap between them and Boracay. We push them up while we maintain Boracay Island,” she said.
Catalbas also said other destinations are getting stronger and they are stepping up efforts to clean the island as it employs many people from Western Visayas and neighboring regions. *MLG
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