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OPINION Boracay's Tourism Woes: A Call for Renewal


Boracay, once hailed as a tropical paradise and a global tourist magnet, now wears an unfamiliar cloak of solitude. The past weeks have witnessed a disheartening downturn in tourism—a stark contrast to the vibrant celebrations expected during the municipality of Malay's weeklong tourist week. This unanticipated quietude raises a pressing question: Why is Boracay losing its cherished visitors?

1. **Burdensome Rules and Restrictions**: Boracay's laundry list of regulations, while intended for safety and order, has become a roadblock to spontaneity and relaxation for travelers. The island's charm is increasingly stifled by these rules.

2. **High Costs, Mediocre Facilities**: Tourists find themselves paying premium prices for facilities that fail to impress. From the airport to terminals, hotels, internet connectivity, and public areas, Boracay must elevate its standards to match the premium prices.

3. **Better Value Elsewhere**: Travelers, in search of greater value for their hard-earned money, are exploring alternatives like Bohol and international destinations offering diverse activities and attractions. Boracay's singular focus on beaches is no longer sufficient.

4. **Complacency**: A belief that tourists would perpetually flock to Boracay, without the need for active promotion, has resulted in complacency among stakeholders. The tourism landscape is evolving, and Boracay must adapt to thrive.

5. **Resistance to Feedback**: Decision-makers and implementers must heed feedback from both tourists and locals. Adaptation and responsiveness are vital for sustainable tourism.

The challenges faced at the jetty port only add to the frustration, making the entry process needlessly cumbersome. The Boracay of today has lost much of its allure, and several factors contribute to this decline.

In the past, Boracay was celebrated through extensive marketing, securing its position as one of the world's top beaches. However, this marketing momentum has waned, evident in the decline of events, coverage, and the island's once-thriving music scene. Event organizers lament the prohibitive cost of party permits, further dimming Boracay's vibrancy.

To rekindle Boracay's tourism, an all-encompassing marketing strategy is essential. This should encompass exciting events, international talent attraction, and the promotion of local artists. Night markets showcasing local cuisine and crafts can infuse life into the island's entertainment scene. By diversifying its offerings, Boracay can once again capture the hearts of global tourists.

Boracay's current decline coincides with "Tourism Week," serving as a stark reminder of its fading appeal. It is imperative that both the local government and the national government treat this as an emergency, motivating them to make high-impact decisions and work tirelessly. Taxpayers contribute year-round, and government accountability should be unwavering, irrespective of the season.

Travelers now prefer other destinations with superior facilities and fewer restrictions—places where they can enjoy a drink on the beach, lounge on sunbeds, build sandcastles, and dine with their feet in the sand. Boracay's decline is exacerbated by the exorbitant rules, fees, and restrictions, including prebooked accommodations, entry fees, and bans on beachside dining and sunbeds. The rising costs of food, accommodation, drinks, and activities further deter tourists.

Moreover, the change in tourism dynamics, possibly influenced by the start of classes, has led to a heavy reliance on families with school-age children. Recent statistics indicate that 90% of arrivals over the last three years have been Filipinos who tend to travel in groups. When group members back out due to financial constraints, travel plans are often canceled. To adapt, Boracay's tourism promotion should target solo travelers and small groups with tailored tour packages. This segment may also appreciate a less crowded Boracay, making it an appealing option.

In conclusion, Boracay's tourism challenges are multifaceted, stemming from restrictive rules, underwhelming facilities, complacency, and a lack of strategic marketing. To restore its status as a premier destination, Boracay must listen to its visitors, adapt, and offer exceptional experiences. It's high time for Boracay to rekindle its charm and allure, reclaiming its status as a beloved spot for travelers worldwide.  (Written for Boracay Xplore by: Abou Ben G.Dianco)


  1. It is the start of the academic year around the world, hence families are abscent from the tourist numbers. Also teachers/lecturers, college and University students for similar reasons.


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