Boracay arrivals up despite algal bloom

BORACAY Island, Aklan — Tourism arrivals in this resort island continue to increase despite the proliferation of green algae along the sandy white beaches of this world-renowned island.

Julfe Rabe, information officer of the Caticlan Jetty Port, said they registered 167,445 foreign and local tourists in March 2017, higher than the 156,872 tourists recorded during the same period last year.

“South Korea regained its top spot with 27, 231 (tourists) followed by China at 25, 127. Taiwan comes third with 4, 164 tourists,” he told the Philippine News Agency Friday.

In January and February, China topped foreign tourist arrivals in this resort island.

Last month, several local and international news organizations reported the surfacing of the “ugly” algal bloom in this resort island.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, however, asserted that Boracay remains safe for swimming.

In an earlier interview, Dr. Edgardo Gomez, a marine biologist, warned that the presence of the algal bloom may turn off tourists in the long run.

“It’s true that algal bloom had been in Boracay for years. It is also true that it is still safe for swimming. However, I know that the increasing tourist arrivals also translates to the increasing presence of algae every summer. The huge number of tourists feeds the multiplication of algae bloom,” he said.

He added that several tourist islands similar to Boracay, such as Maldives and Galapagos Islands, are already regulating the number of tourists coming.

“I am being invited to several meetings of the Department of Tourism (in Manila) concerning Boracay and I am always telling them to limit the tourists coming in,” he said.

The Aklan provincial government targets to attract 1.75 million tourists this year to the island. Jun Aguirre/