It's more fun in Bali? Boracay, Palawan still way behind

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at Jun 07 2012 10:53 PM | Updated as of Jun 08 2012 04:59 PM

Philippines still gets few tourists, data show

MANILA, Philippines - Boracay and Palawan may be two of the Philippines' top beach destinations, but they only gets a small fraction of the foreign tourists who flock to Bali, Indonesia.

Based on data collated by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Boracay and Palawan received only 10.9% and 5% of the total foreign visitors who went to Bali in 2010.

In 2010, 278,531 tourists visited Boracay, 44.4% higher than the previous year, while 126,763 visitors went to Palawan, 138% up from year-ago figures.

However, even if you combine Boracay and Palawan's visitor arrivals, these would still pale in comparison to Bali's 2.54 million visitor arrivals in 2010. Tourist arrivals to Bali even grew by 7% in 2010 from the previous year's 2.38 million.

"Good news is that growth of foreign visitor arrivals in Boracay and Palawan in 2010 was higher than in Bali, Indonesia. Bad news is that, Boracay and Palawan received only 10.9 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively, of the foreign visitors received by Bali," the NSCB said.

One of best beaches; Wonders of Nature

With its powdery white sand, Boracay island is considered one of the best beaches in the world. In 2011, Boracay was ranked 4th in Travel and Leisure magazine's World's Best Top 10 islands.

Palawan is also known was one of the best islands in the world. Among its attractions are the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, El Nido Marine Reserve Park and Puerto Princesa Underground which was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Not yet so fun in PH?

Overall, the Philippines gets only a small number of the international tourists to the Asia-Pacific region.

The NSCB pointed out that in 2010, around 3.5 million tourists or 1.8 percent of the total number of international tourists in Asia and the Pacific visited the Philippines. This makes the Philippines the 14th most visited country out of 25 countries in the region.

"For every 10 tourists who visited the Philippines from 2008 to 2010, 15 tourists went to Vietnam, 20 tourists went to Indonesia, 26 tourists went to Singapore, 44 tourists went to Thailand, and 140 tourists went to Malaysia," it said.

Top 15 countries ranked by international tourist arrivals in 2010

1 China 55.66 million
2 Malaysia 24.57 million
3 Hong Kong 20.08 million
4 Thailand 15.84 million
5 Macau 11.926 million    
6 Singapore 9.16 million    
7 Japan 8.61 million
8 South Korea 8.79 million
9 Indonesia 7 million    
10 Australia 5.88 million         
11 India 5.58 million
12 Taiwan 5.56 million
13 Vietnam 5.05 million
14 Philippines  3.52 million
15 New Zealand 2.52 million

Visitor arrivals in Boracay and Bali. Source:

Malaysia attracts the most number of international tourists in Southeast Asia, cornering 38% of the market. Thailand follows with 24%, Singapore with 14% and Indonesia with 11% and Vietnam with 8%. The Philippines only has 5% share of the market.

Visitors Arrival, ratio of Boracay and Palawan to Bali, 2004-2010

The Philippine government is hoping to boost tourism in the country with its new campaign "It's More Fun in the Philippines."