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Why Boracay will remain a hotspot

A study on the vacation habits of affluent Asians shows that pristine beaches and upscale hotels top the list for family vacations. The Visa Affluent Study 2015, conducted among rich AsiaPacific families, shows that the destination is just as important as the quality of accommodation. Upscale hotels to mid-scale ones were the most preferred, although boutique hotels were also popular among respondents from Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The study also looked into the travel patterns of welloff consumers in eight major markets in Asia Pacific. According to findings, four out of five, or 82 percent of respondents have traveled with their families in the past 12 months and that they prefer to spend their holidays within the region.

Japan ranked as the top destination, over the past 12 months, garnering 26 percent of respondents’ preference. This was followed by Hong Kong and Australia. Around the same time, the survey showed the region’s most frequent affluent travelers are those from Singapore and China (3.1 trips each), followed by Hong Kong (2.8 trips) and India (2.0 trips).

James Lim, Visa head of consumer products for Asia and Pacific, said family vacations have become important occasions that affluent families in the region look forward to every year.

Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam, Stuart Tomlinson, said the Philippines, with its abundance of white sand beaches, island resorts and popular shopping destinations, is well positioned to attract affluent travelers. “The results of the study present an opportunity for the public and private sectors to boost tourism activities and make the country a preferred destination,” he said.

Boracay, in particular, matches such a destination and is in a very good position to grab this opportunity. When asked for the main activities when traveling abroad, 44 percent of respondents said their top pick is relaxing on a beach, 36 percent want shopping in popular or large shopping centers and 35 percent prefer exploring landmarks independently. 27 percent of respondents, said they travel to try out popular local restaurants. And Boracay offers all these in a neatly wrapped package.

Foreign arrivals in the Philippines averaged over four million in the past three years, with an average receipt of over $4 billion per year. It seems quite a lot, but on a global scale, it accounts for only less than two percent of active tourists.

The market is huge. This means Boracay is yet to hit its peak as a favorite destination.

Why Boracay?

Consistently voted as one of the best islands in Asia and the world, Boracay is truly a Philippine paradise. Heart-stopping views of white sand, palm trees, a magical gradient of blue waters and pastel-colored skies are but normal occurrences here. Picturesque sights linger everywhere in this place, simply walking around fills the spirit like a daydream. It’s heaven for photographers, as each moment in the island is actually a real-life postcard.

In a country of countless beaches, Boracay still comes up a cut above the rest, because the thrill doesn’t end with the assimilation of fantastic visuals while strolling on fine sand through Stations 1, 2 and 3. Island-hopping around Boracay offer an array of different adventures, expanding the fun.

Snorkel at Crocodile Island, have lunch at a private paradise in Puka Beach, dive off a cliff at Ariel’s Point, drive rough on Dune Buggies or ATVs through forest muddy groves and overlooking vistas, go kite-surfing in Bulabog Beach, sail on Paraws against a backdrop of the most tantalizing sunsets ever seen or just parasail above it all.

If a gastronomic adventure is preferred, Boracay has pretty good lechon since it is considered a delicacy by the locals, and each shop is actually quite competitive with the quality and taste of their product. The Calamansi Muffin at Real Coffee Boracay has a sweetness that can take one’s breath away. Jonah’s Fruit Shake, people say, serves the best fruit shakes on the island. There’s D’Talipapa, Boracay’s wet market, for fresh/live seafood. And at Hennan Regency is an endless feast of the most delicious international dishes, a feast that’s even highlighted by entertainment: dancing chefs, every night. Boracay is actually a 6-kilometerlong restaurant strip that turns into a bar strip at night, where smorgasbords of overindulgence and the wildest beach parties happen all the time.

Sure, many have said, Boracay isn’t the pristine paradise it was 10 or 20 years ago. It’s not like Fiji, Maldives or Bora Bora. It may have degraded into a place of decadence, tainted by tourist traps, beggars, and street vendors…jaded by drunken stupors, scandalous sexcapades, and too much selfies. It is, however, still one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines. Perhaps because there is no other place like it. Boracay is Boracay. That’s why.

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