It’s no secret that one of the worst hit industries in this global pandemic is tourism. As economies contract and people’s mobility and activities are lessened, the world of travel is reeling from losses either discouraging or downright depressing.
There is, however, a group of hotels in Boracay setting an inspiring message of unity for the travel industry in the Philippines. One Boracay was initially formed to help businesses in the island, mainly the tourism-oriented ones, during the 2018 closure. Though well-intentioned, the six-months-long rehabilitation gravely affected businesses due to the temporary halt of tourism in the island. One Boracay led a fundraising campaign, and put together job fairs, to support the workers. The group also initiated beach cleanups and tree planting activities to support the government’s thrust to make Boracay an example of sustainable tourism.
Today, a group of hotels and resorts have come together with the goal of promoting Boracay in the time of pandemic. The One Boracay Hotel Group is a voluntary gathering of many of the island’s most reputable brands led by their respective sales and marketing leaders. They intend to promote Boracay’s image as a fun and safe destination with the added come-on: the island has greatly benefited from the rehabilitation.
Boracay today is closer to how it looked during its early days as a destination—the clear stretches of white sand, the crystal clear water, the unobstructed vistas. The time the older generation likes to wax nostalgic about. This is what One Boracay Hotel Group wants to remind tourists, apart from the island’s unique charm created by the energy and hospitality of its locals.
“Our banner campaign is entitled ‘Boracay Better Than Ever’ because we believe that with the ongoing rehabilitation of the island, the blossoming of Boracay’s marine biodiversity serves as one of many reasons why this island deserves to be revisited by tourists,” says
Carmela Bocanegra, vice president for sales and marketing of Chroma Hospitality (Crimson Boracay). “Hotels, resorts, restaurants and other establishments try their best to be compliant and adaptive to the ‘new normal’. Speaking on behalf of the hotels and resorts, One Boracay Hotel Group is able to foster a shared sense of commitment to provide all tourists a safe and seamless return to the island.
The group came together and drew up a marketing plan that was proposed to the bigger Boracay community – the LGU, Boracay Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Tourism’s Region VI as well as other stakeholders—to seek ideas on how the group can further synergize with the local community and other establishments apart from other hotels.
It’s surprising that while it’s a time businesses are expected to be more aggressive and want bigger shares of the pie, there is a group that encourages unity and solidarity.
“The One Boracay Hotel Group believes that now is not the time to be disunited. Granted, all of the hotels and resorts are being creative in luring more tourists into their hotels as the island reopened last 1 October 1, but this is also our concerted effort to help the Department of Tourism in informing and educating tourists as we all adapt to vacationing in the time of COVID-19,” shares Nico Estrella, Director of Sales and Marketing of The Lind Boracay.
Another project to support the Boracay Better Than Ever campaign is The Boracay Post, a monthly bulletin that packs information for tourists. It is also the creative output of the different member hotels. The maiden issue, released last September, was laid out and designed by Discovery Shores Boracay with contributions from hotels like Sea Wind Boracay, The Lind Boracay, The Muse Hotel Boracay, Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay and Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay. The upcoming issue slated for release this October will include information on pre-arrival requirements, an article on the many island attractions, and updates on the newly reopened destination.
The bulletin was uploaded across member hotels’ social media pages and was also sent to major travel associations as well as to the Tourism Promotions Board for further dissemination to tourism offices abroad.
“We want The Boracay Post to be a leading source of information from arrival and island protocols, flight updates, new activities and other stories that will highlight why the island is a better version of itself as compared to the past. For our upcoming issues, more hotels will be sharing what they believe tourists can find useful and encouraging with regard to returning or going to Boracay,” said Lea Wong, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Muse Hotel.
Apart from The Boracay Post, the One Boracay Hotel group intends to pave the way for healthier competition and fair collaboration by sharing best practices when it comes to implementing safety protocols, and experiences with guests.
Recovering from the closure and now fighting to survive this pandemic, the group is sending a clear message that now is not the time to go on separate ways but to move forward united.
“This isn’t only about us and our employees. This is about the industry we love, and a community that has given much to the meaning of the slogan ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’. We hope you will support and believe us when we say Boracay is, indeed, better than ever,” Bocanegra concluded.
Member hotels of OneBoracay Hotel Group are: Alta Vista de Boracay, Aqua Boracay, Astoria Current, The Auhana, Azalea Hotels & Residences Boracay, Belmont Hotel Boracay, Boracay Tropics Resort Hotel, Citic Hotel Boracay, COAST Boracay, Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay, Crown Regency Beach Resort, Discovery Shores Boracay, Fairways & Bluewater Boracay, Feliz Hotel Boracay, Henann Group of Resorts, The Lazy Dog Bed and Breakfast,The Lind Boracay, Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, The Muse Hotel, Paradise Garden Resort Hotel Convention Center Boracay, Patio Pacific Boracay, Savoy Hotel Boracay, Sea Wind Resort Boracay, The Tides Hotel and Two Seasons Boracay Resort.