A real estate advisory firm expects Panglao Island in Bohol province to surpass Boracay Island as the Philippines. top tourism destination.
Leechiu Property Consultants said the completion of the Bohol–Panglao International Airport in 2018, coupled with the installation of night instrumentation in 2019, significantly boosted tourist arrivals in Panglao.
“In 2019, Panglao reached an impressive 1,581,904 visitors, coming close to Boracay’s 2,034,599 arrivals during the same period. Given these promising figures, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Panglao Island could surpass Boracay Island as the Philippines’ premier tourism destination,” the company said.
Alfred Lay, director for hotel, tourism and Leisure at Leechiu Property Consultants, noted the larger size and capacity of Panglao over Boracay as the former’s key advantage.
Lay also pointed out the ongoing developments in Panglao, including the proposed 50-hectare Panglao Shores project, the upcoming JW Marriott hotel, the Cebu-Bohol bridge and large-scale energy initiatives designed to meet Bohol’s growing energy demands.
These developments have had a significant impact on land values, with Alona Beachfront properties now priced at P80,000 to P100,000 per square meter, approaching the land values in Boracay’s white beach area, according to Leechiu Property.
Leechiu Property said the third quarter of 2023 revealed a promising outlook on the Philippine tourism sector, with the number of international tourist arrivals reaching 4,038,379 as of Sep. 30. This places the Department of Tourism (DOT) at an impressive 84 percent of its 4.8 million international tourist arrivals target for 2023, it said.
It said that despite the substantial recovery from key source countries like South Korea, the United States of America (USA) and Australia, the Philippines has yet to reclaim more than 50 percent of its 2019 tourist numbers from Japan and China.
China’s relatively low recovery rate can be attributed to multiple factors, including limited international flight capacity, which currently operates at only 50 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, it said.
Leechiu Property said to sustain the growth in the Philippine tourism industry, there’s a pressing need for greater private sector investment in additional hotel accommodations. Initiating these investments within the next year is critical to fortify international tourism beyond 2027.
It said nearly 15,000 new hotel rooms expected to be delivered within the next five years, primarily concentrated in Metro Manila.
Additional hotel projects are anticipated to be announced in the coming months or years, aligning with the Department of Tourism’s (DOT’s) target of 12 million international arrivals for 2028.
The development of hotels in key cities such as Cebu, Clark, Davao, Bohol and Palawan highlights the pivotal role of international airports in driving demand for hotel accommodations, it said.
“Overall, 2024 is anticipated to be the year in which broad indicators in the global tourism industry finally recover to pre-pandemic levels. Industry stakeholders should look out for certain trends that can greatly impact the Philippines in the coming year, including the relaxation of visa restrictions, persistent high airfares driven by escalating aviation fuel costs, ongoing inflation, a high-interest rate environment that may leave consumers with diminished purchasing power, and the return of business travel and MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions],” Leechiu Property said.