MANILA - Tourist arrivals in the country increased in May compared to the previous month despite the closure of Boracay island, the Department of Tourism said Friday.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that the world-renowned beach destination be closed to tourists for half a year starting late April so establishments may improve sewerage systems and illegal structures could be torn down.
Even with Boracay's shutdown, some 537,743 travelers visited the country in May, up 0.94 percent from April's tourist arrivals, Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr. said at a meeting of hoteliers in Makati.
The DOT, he said, has recorded a total of 3,177,974 foreign visitors in the first 3 months of the year. This is 10.24 percent higher compared to tourist arrivals in the same period in 2017.
The government will rebrand Boracay and initiate green infrastructure projects in the island when it re-opens on October 26, said Bengzon.
The island has been one of the top beach destinations in the Philippines.
In 2017, about 3.7 million tourists flew to the island known for its powdery beaches, data from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines showed. (ABS-CBN News)