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Boost in tourist arrivals seen with cruise ships set to drop anchor in Boracay

KALIBO, Aklan -- Five international cruise ships from Europe and America are anticipated to carry and bring in 10,000 passengers to Boracay Island here.

Niven Maquirang, executive assistant of Gov. Jose Enrique Miraflores, confirmed that this November and December, the island will be hosting more foreign tourists with the arrival of the cruise ships.

Maquirang said that such cruise ship travel would have a positive impact on reviving and strengthening the tourism industry on Boracay Island.

MV Norwegian Jewel of the Norwegian Cruise Line will dock at Boracay Island, have its maiden call on November 3, and stay on the island from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A short program will be held inside the cruise ship upon arrival, and an exchange of plaques ceremony will be conducted."

It will return on November 29 and December 1, and tourists will explore the island from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

MS Westerdam of Holland America Line and Star Breeze by Windstar Cruises will also have their maiden call on Boracay Island on November 7 and December 2, respectively.

A luxury cruise ship, MV Seabourn Encore, docks in Boracay Island, carrying 371 passengers. It arrived on the island in February of this year and was the first cruise ship to return to Boracay after three years of hiatus due to the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Provincial Government of Aklan)

Malay town mayor Frolibar Bautista said that the local government is happy that cruise ship arrivals will resume on Boracay Island as this would help the economy of the island and the province bounce back.

“These cruise ships are carrying international passengers and tourists. These tourists disembark and have short visits and explorations of the white-sand beaches, museums, souvenir shops, and restaurants. They will witness and experience the beauty of the island and, at the same time, participate in the economic activities,” Bautista said.

The mayor added that before the COVID-19 pandemic, more foreign tourists visited Boracay Island than domestic tourists where a big chunk of the tourism receipts of the island came from these foreign visitors.

Passengers disembark the international cruise ship MV Seven Seas Mariner to explore the white-sand beaches, museums, souvenir shops, and restaurants on Boracay Island. The visitors were welcomed with a cultural performance, the donning of leis, and the giving of souvenir items. (Photo courtesy of Provincial Government of Aklan)

Further, to promote tourist arrivals on Boracay Island, Bautista said that the local government of Malay initiates activities such as the Boracay White Beach Festival 2023 on October 20 to 22, and sports activities, among others.

The Provincial Government of Aklan conducts a series of coordination meetings with the different government agencies, task force multipliers, and various transport groups in the province and Malay town before the scheduled arrival to ensure the smooth travel and safety of the visitors.

Upon disembarkation, visitors will be welcomed with a cultural performance and will be treated to souvenir items.

Just like Mayor Bautista, many Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on the island are pleased with the resumption of cruise ship arrivals and the economic development of the island.

“We hope and pray that more tourists will visit the island. We are glad about the arrivals of cruise ship here in Boracay because these will bring also more foreign tourists and somehow affect positively our businesses here,” Helen Punay who had a vegetable section for 12 years in Boracay and now shifted to restaurant and “paluto” (cooking) services, which mostly serve seafood such as king crab and lobster, which are mostly foreign visitors’ favorite dishes.

As mentioned in the State of the Province Address of Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores, the provincial government of Aklan has continuously improved facilities in terminals and ports, which include Cagban Jetty Port in Boracay Island. 

A new ramp and canopy are installed for the convenience of passengers and tourists.

Representatives from the Department of Tourism, local government of Aklan and Malay, and cultural performers wait for the arrival of the luxury cruise ship in Cagban Port on Boracay Island. (Photo courtesy of Provincial Government of Aklan)

Moreover, to further improve the accommodation of cruise ship arrivals on the island, the provincial government proposed the Aklan Provincial Marina Project, which seeks to transform the reclamation area into a hub for cruise ship tourism with vertical and horizontal infrastructure and modern facilities.  

Based on the records of the Malay Municipal Tourism Office, Boracay Island received a total of 1,759,592 tourists in 2022, when travel restrictions were relaxed by the local government of Malay. 

From the said number, 1,588,079 were domestic tourists; 132,687 were foreign tourists; and 38, 826 were Overseas Filipino Workers.

From January 1 to October 15 of this year, Boracay tourist arrivals reached 1,715,194. Of which, 1,343,445 were domestic tourists; 337,152 were international tourists; and 34,597 were OFWS/OFs. (AGP/SQP/PIA Aklan)

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Sheila Patoza


Region 6

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