Boracay’s tourism is hurting due to the COVID-19 mass hysteria fueled in part by news organizations desperate for higher ratings. My Filipina wife and I ignored the media hype and visited the white sandy beaches of Boracay the end of February 2020. While we didn’t avail of any promotions designed to lure local tourists, the tourism department’s campaign to draw more visitors to this top-rated beach destination is today’s topic “Boracay’s Bombastic Bugle Call for Tourists.”
Boracay’s Bombastic Bugle Call for Tourists
From 167,070 visitors in January 2020, February tourists in Boracay dropped to 103,834. In contrast, that’s a 37.85 percent drop. The year 2019 saw 172,695 vacationers. Furthermore, there were 189,100 visitors in 2018.
Finally, the biggest drop was among foreign tourists from 98,301 in January to 40,346 this past February.
Suspended Flights Hurting Tourism
Suspended direct flights in late January from China, Hong Kong, and Macau and some areas in South Korea have led to the tourism drop due to the COVID-19 eruption.
Many hotels are offering discounts 50-70 percent off their usual rates. If you’re living in the Philippines or planning to visit Boracay, now is the time to come.
Massive Crowds Missing on the Beach
As a result of the huge drop in tourism, our latest adventure in Boracay was much more relaxed. The massive crowds on the beach we experienced in our previous two visits were gone. Hence, here’s what a view of the beach looked like early Saturday morning.
Furthermore, look at the beach during sunset at Boracay, where large crowds on the beach made it difficult to get a good photo op in years past. The following pictures were taken on a Saturday evening from the Station 2 White Beach.
Algae-Free, Clean Beaches in Boracay
In our last visit to Boracay in 2017, the beaches were covered in algae. Here’s a sample picture from April 2017:
In contrast, thanks to a massive 2018 clean-up campaign in Boracay prompted by President Duterte, here’s what the beach looks like today:
It was a pleasure to walk down these pristine, white sandy beaches of Boracay as compared to years past.
Vendors Still Roam Boracay Beaches
Check out the “Boracay Discipline Zone” signage displayed throughout Boracay. First of all, I get it. The vendors that plagued our previous visits to Boracay have to make a living. However, one couldn’t walk down the beach more than 60 seconds without being accosted by a vendor selling cheap sunglasses, hats, island hopping tours, etc.
While the number of vendors on Boracay beaches has been reduced, they still roam the beach area. Furthermore, I’m not talking about the employees standing outside of their respective retail outlets trying to sell you manicures or massages. If you want to avoid these hawkers just walk a few meters away from all the retail stores and restaurants.
However, some of the vendors openly defy the ban. The police and security guards roaming the beach seemingly do nothing to dissuade them.
Hence, why not gather all the vendors in one area and let them sell their wares there? It would make visiting Boracay an even more pleasant experience in my opinion.
Other Aspects of Boracay Discipline Zone Observed
While the vendor ban on the beach wasn’t being enforced, other aspects of the Boracay Discipline Zone were. I didn’t observe any litter on the beach. It was very clean in contrast to our previous visits.
There wasn’t any sand castle making, either. In previous years, Sand castles littered the beach with the sand castle creators charging a fee to have your picture taken with their creation.
Where Have all the Fire Dancers Gone?
Fire dancing on the beach is gone. Above all, it was a big tourist draw. It was something I enjoyed watching. However, during one of our nighttime visits to the D’Mall in Boracay, one of the hotels had a fire dancer on their premises, but not on any part of the beach.
I didn’t see any smokers on the beach and didn’t view anyone consuming bottles of beer or any alcoholic beverages even on a Friday or Saturday evening. However, that doesn’t mean the party time has stopped at Boracay.
Boracay’s Epic Bouncers
As my awesome asawa and I were heading back to our room around 10 pm Saturday night, I encountered loud music and a large crowd near the entrance of Epic, a swanky restaurant and nightclub right on the beach at Station 2 not far from our hotel.
I stopped and spoke with a few of the bouncers outside. The friendly guys agreed to let my wife take my picture with them. In fact, another bouncer showed up and took the following photograph. An extremely gracious bunch. These guys evidently went to the gym. Though I wasn’t drinking, I still got into the spirit of the moment.
Furthermore, all alcoholic beverages are off my menu now. With my gall bladder removal, I’m eating healthier, have lost 23 pounds, and I’m not quaffing anymore adult beverages.
Moreover, I want to thank the guys over at Epic for their warm greeting and for their invitation to the club.
However, the old geezer was up past his bedtime and had to decline. While my wife loves to dance, we both were too tired and needed our shut-eye time.
There were loads of friendly people in Boracay. Don’t worry about the COVID-19 virus. We didn’t wear any face masks and only saw a handful of people wearing face masks during our three-day visit. Go there and have a good time.