BORACAY ISLAND. Guests enjoy the white sand beach of Boracay Island. The new tourism secretary is receptive to the concerns on carrying capacity and opening of more direct flights to Boracay during her meeting with the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, said its Vice President for Visayas Peter Tay in a phone interview on Thursday (July 28, 2022). (File photo courtesy of Jun Aguirre)

ILOILO CITY – The new secretary of the Department of Tourism will look into the carrying capacity of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan as well as open talks with airlines for direct flights to Kalibo from Singapore.

These were among the concerns that Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) vice president for Visayas Peter Tay, who is based in Boracay Island, brought before Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco during their meeting in Manila on Wednesday.

A study commissioned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2018 showed that the island’s carrying capacity is 19,215 tourists a day or about 6,405 arrivals a day based on an average three-day stay.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Tay said the current capacity is not balanced with the available room accommodations on the island which presently range from 12,000 to 14,000.

“It is very limited. I am explaining to her and I’m glad that she agreed that 6,500 is indeed a small number and they will revisit it. Of course she never committed that they will adjust it to how many but they will revisit the carrying capacity,” he said.

Tay added that while there was no discussion as to the possible increase but it was good that the secretary was receptive and understood the position of the tourism players on the island.

The TCP official also brought up the possibility of opening direct flights to and from Singapore, which is the gateway for other countries due to its strategic location.

“We used to have direct flights from Singapore. Singapore is like a gateway for many countries because of its strategic location. This is something that the secretary is very open and said she will be having discussion with the airlines to talk about it,” he said.

Currently, there are two airline companies servicing direct flights from South Korea to Boracay via the Kalibo International Airport in Kalibo, Aklan.

The secretary has been calling for consultation with various tourism stakeholders in the country to listen to their suggestions on how to further improve the tourism industry, he added.

“I’m very glad that we have a secretary who is willing to listen and she would take the necessary proactive action of all the things that need to be done, I am very positive that something great is going to happen in the days to come,” Tay said.

The new DOT secretary is also looking forward to visit Boracay.

TCP is a consultative body composed of tourism players from the private sector and former secretaries of the department that assists the government in the development and implementation of tourism policies. (PNA)