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Beyond Boracay: European tourists look to other islands amid closure

THERE’S MUCH MORE TO THE Philippines than the white sand beaches of Boracay.

Travel agencies that offer packaged tours to the Philippines for European tourists are encouraged to look for other destinations in the country following the closure of Boracay Island, according to European Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ECCP) President Guenter Taus.

Taus said that the business group has urged tour organizers to switch from mainstream tourism, which is mainly going to white sand beaches in the country, to outdoor activities and green tourism for European tourists. This would mean more focus on activities such as hiking and biking.

“I think European tourists are actually very picky in what they want to do. And the mainstream tourism is long gone, so let’s do something different. Let’s do something we never experienced before,” Taus said.

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Due to the temporary closure of Boracay, European tourists are looking to explore other destinations in Southeast Asia — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

European Union Delegation Head of Economic and Trade Section Walter van Hattum said that over 550,000 European tourists visited the Philippines in 2017. Half of this number were upscale tourists who mostly stayed in the island of Boracay.

According to Taus, a European tourist staying in the country for about 14 days spends an average of USD2,000 or approximately more than P100,000.

via Philippine News Agency / Kris Crismundo

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