Philippines turns to other tourist markets after Taiwan row


Boracay. Photo by Don Lejano/

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) is turning to other markets to fill hotel rooms on Boracay Island that have been left empty by cancellations of Taiwanese bookings, coming as fallout from a diplomatic row between Taiwan and the Philippines over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coast guards two weeks ago.

Budget airline Zest Airways (Zest Air) also needs to look for other markets, as the cancellations from Taiwan have forced it to suspend its daily charter flights between Kalibo town in Aklan province and Taipei.

Butch Rodriguez, Zest Air senior vice president for commercial and external affairs, said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the suspension began on Monday on the request of the airline’s charter agent in Taiwan.

Rodriguez said the agent cited the controversy between Taiwan and the Philippines as the reason for the cancellation of tours to Boracay.

Helen Catalbas, DOT regional director, said that while Taiwan was among the top tourist markets of Boracay, Korea and China were also big markets that could cushion if not offset the loss of traffic from Taiwan.

Retaliatory measures

Hotels and resorts on the world-famous resort-island have reported cancellations since last week after Taiwan suspended tourist travel to the Philippines as part of retaliatory measures for the fatal shooting of fisherman Hung Shih-chen, 65, by Filipino coast guards in waters off Balintang Island in northern Philippines on May 9.

Manila and Taipei, however, have agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the incident.

Taiwan is Boracay’s second-biggest foreign tourist market.

In 2012, 92,209 Taiwanese tourists visited Boracay, coming second in numbers to the Koreans, 156,445 of whom spent holidays on the island.

China was the third-biggest market, which generated traffic of 82,358 tourists to Boracay in 2012.

Tim Ticar, officer in charge of the DOT office on Boracay, said one hotel on the island had reported cancellations from May to July involving 296 guests and 187 rooms.

Canceled flights

Besides Zest Air, Philippine Airlines and China Airlines have also stopped chartered flights to Kalibo, the jump-off point to Boracay.

Catalbas said seven flights of China Airlines from May 22 to June 30, 18 flights of Philippine Airlines from May 20 to June 30, and 18 flights of Zest Air from May 20 to June 30 had been canceled.

She said only two Taiwanese tourists were recorded at the jetty in Caticlan.

Catalbas said the DOT would step up promotions in Korea, China, Japan and Russia to make up for the lost traffic from Taiwan.

She said the domestic market, which contributed 57 percent to the 1.2-million-visitor traffic to Boracay last year, could also help fill the gap created by the cancellations from Taiwan.—With a report from Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

Originally posted at 06:27 pm | Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • boybakal

    Boracay is over advertized but nothing to offer.
    Better go to Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Malibu beach and other surrounding beaches of California.

    The very best among beaches of the world. Cheap and very cheap.
    Clean, safe, secured and Lots of Fun fun and fun.

    • socali

      I live in LA. Venice beach is almost as dirty as China.

      • boybakal

        then move out….there are more beaches in california.
        maybe what you mean dirty is too many people….i dont believe it is dirty.

  • $18209031

    Link up with the Saudians, they have the money for the sake of Juan de Hesus Kristo’s . They can come with their lear jets and super yachts in galore. Kaso lang ang mga Saudians are lovers of white gals with blondie hairs. Thats their weakness. Ang mga pinuntahan mga yan ay Europe , doon ang goodtimes nila like Italy , Sweden and Norway.

  • Engr. Chatto

    Then what living the leverage of our cool destinations while this moronic act will continue… to my suggestion leave them where they felt good let other countries knew we are on bussiness… Chinese eat my shittttttttttt to the taiwanese the long time pocher eat my penis…

  • Juanito Palma


  • 18C0501

    masyado ng commercialized ang boracay.

  • Te Pu Win

    Yah right. Puffing your empty chests up and hope other countries will suddenly increase tourism to FP where they shoot fishermen in high seas, and police killed HK tourists in hostage situations. And you think Chinese from mainland will step in to fill the gap for your empty hotel rooms? What other fiction can you tell yourselves? NoyNoy even threatens to fight China, with his “let them eat cake” smile?

  • Free_Pacific

    To understand why diversifying away from a traditional market strengthens an industry, look into the company and mineral water brand ‘Borjomi’. The Russians tried to hurt Georgia by banning this product, they then found new markets and the Russians were begging to have it back on the shelves.

  • batangpaslit

    Boracay lost her pristine state with the deluge of foreigners. Sayang…I missed the raw beauty of the Island.
    Two of my cousins who owns beachfront lots, are millionaires now; but, they too regretted the pollution that is creeping the once virgin resort island.

  • M d’C-McN™

    Boracay went from pristine to filthy since foreigners started crashing the shores. It can become pristine again as it was. I never went back to Boracay since it became the beach front to hell.

    Like Boracay, Coron and other areas that natural habitat coexist with filipino natives are in danger because of the explosion and neglect by foreigners who treat our natural resources as their personal toilet of destruction. Take them all back let the reefs and corals come back to life.

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