The State of Boracay Island in 2023
Boracay is nestled among the 7,000+ islands that make up the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy. It’s a small but booming tourist island. Now is a great time to visit.
From 2018-2019, Boracay was shut down at it became "too well known" and was seriously at risk of being overdeveloped, Countless commercial properties were wither being illegally constructed, or were violating environmental protection laws.
Then the 2020 pandemic halted Boracay's tourism again. Laws have changed in regards to entering the island, so ensure you have the necessary paperwork ready before booking your flights.
Nevertheless, Boracay is paradise. And with a fraction of the number of flocking tourists than previous years, and new noise and pollution laws enacted, it can finally be enjoyed as it was meant to be.
How has Boracay been affected by the pandemic, and how has it changed?
Boracay Island is still by and large the most popular tourist destination located in the Philippines. Recognition for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters remains. Like many other tourist destinations around the world, Boracay Island was largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in travel restrictions and a significant decrease in tourism, especially from key markets like China.
It is difficult to say exactly how much Boracay Island has changed since the pandemic, as the situation is constantly evolving. However, some possible impacts of the pandemic on the island may include:
Decrease in tourism: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant decrease in travel, which may have reduced a significant number of locally owned businesses (shops and restaurants) still operating on Boracay Island.
Changes to travel restrictions: The Philippine government has lifted various travel restrictions in response to the pandemic, which have slowly increased travel to and from Boracay Island.
Changes to local services: The decrease in tourism may have had an impact on local service businesses, such as hotel activity partners, event planners, and tour operators.
Changes to local infrastructure: The decrease in tourism may have affected the local economy and funding for infrastructure projects.
In 2015, the readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine chose Boracay as one of the world's ten best party islands, while at the same time, Lonely Planet guides named the Philippines as one of the ten best countries to visit. Travel+Leisure magazine chose Boracay as the Best Overall Island of 2012.
Because it is the crown jewel of Philippine beaches, Boracay is popular as a party hub, but also it offers respite and relaxation, as well as adventures in parasailing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. (It is considered the top kitesurf destination in all of Asia.)
Foreign Investment in Boracay
American tourists spent $32 million in the Philippines in 2016, confirming interest yet lagging far behind Korea's $100-million-plus in visitor spending. (Travelers from Canada, Japan, and China contribute similar annual expenditures.) Boracay is among the most visited destinations.
Multiple five-star holiday properties were set to open in 2017. The Philippine government has established Boracay as a special economic zone for tourism development, and foreign investment in tourism projects of $5 million or more earn exclusive incentives, such as income tax holidays, resident visas, and 100% foreign ownership (as opposed to the traditional 50% ownership).
Deciding whether to invest in property on Boaracay is a complex and personal decision that depends on a variety of factors, such as your financial situation, investment goals, and risk tolerance. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to invest in property on Boracay Island:
Market conditions: It's important to research the current state of the real estate market on Boracay Island. This can include looking at factors such as property prices, demand for rentals, and the overall health of the local economy.
Investment goals: Consider what you hope to achieve through your investment. Are you looking for a long-term investment that you can rent out, or do you plan to sell the property in the short term?
Risk tolerance: Investing in real estate as a foreigner always carries some level of risk, so it's important to consider your tolerance for risk and how much you are willing to invest.
Legal considerations: Make sure you understand the legal requirements for owning property on Boracay Island, including any tax obligations or restrictions on foreign ownership.
Professional advice: It's always a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional or real estate agent before making any major investment decisions. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.
Ultimately, whether investing in property on Boracay Island is a good idea for you will depend on your specific circumstances and goals. It's important to carefully consider all of the factors and do your due diligence before making any decisions.
In 2016, Philippine Airlines began flying between Cebu (just 300 miles from Boracay) and Los Angeles three times weekly, bringing long-haul flights from the US to the island. A direct international flight to Boracay from L.A. may also be on the way.
The Philippine economy is set to expand more than six percent through 2018, to rank among the fastest-growing in the world, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Language barrier: no problem. The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world, making it the destination of choice in Asia.
Is Boracay still eco-friendly?
Boracay Island used to attract a hoards of tourists each year before the pandemic. While the island has taken steps to preserve its natural beauty and promote environmental sustainability, there have also been concerns about the impact of tourism on the local environment.
In the past, the island has faced issues such as water pollution, overcrowding, and waste management. In 2018, the Philippine government implemented a six-month closure of the island to tourists in order to address these issues and implement measures to improve environmental sustainability. This included installing a sewage treatment plant, building new roads, and enforcing stricter regulations on waste management and construction.
Since the closure, the island has implemented various measures to reduce its environmental impact, including promoting eco-tourism and implementing programs to protect marine life and coral reefs. However, the island's reliance on tourism means that there is always the potential for negative impacts on the environment, and it is important for local authorities, businesses, and tourists to continue to work together to preserve the island's natural beauty.
How does Boracay compare to other famous islands in Southeast Asia?
Boracay is often compared to other famous island destinations around the world, such as Bali in Indonesia, Phuket in Thailand, and the Maldives.
Here are a few ways in which Boracay Island may compare to these other island destinations:
Climate: Boracay Island has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. Bali and Phuket also have tropical climates, while the Maldives has a more arid climate with higher temperatures and less rainfall.
Beach quality: Boracay Island is known for its beautiful powdery, white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, which are popular for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. Bali and Phuket also have beautiful beaches, while the Maldives is known for its crystal-clear lagoons and coral reefs.
Tourist attractions: Boracay Island offers a variety of activities and attractions for tourists, including water sports, island hopping, and nightlife. Bali and Phuket also have a wide range of tourist attractions, including temples, cultural sites, and shopping. The Maldives is known for its luxury resorts and scuba diving.
Cost: The cost of visiting Boracay Island, Bali, Phuket, and the Maldives can vary significantly depending on factors such as travel costs, accommodation, and activities. It's worth doing some research and comparing prices to determine which destination is the most budget-friendly for you.
Budgeting for a trip to Boracay
The cost of a trip to Boracay Island can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors, such as the time of year you travel, your mode of transportation, your accommodation, and the activities you choose to do. Here are a few things that can affect the cost of a trip to Boracay Island:
Airfare: The cost of a flight to Boracay Island from your location will depend on a variety of factors, including your departure city, the time of year you travel, and the availability of flights.
Accommodation: The cost of accommodation on Boracay Island can vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Options range from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts.
Activities: The cost of activities on Boracay Island can also vary widely. Some options, such as island hopping and snorkeling, may be relatively inexpensive, while others, such as para-sailing and ATV rentals, may be more expensive.
Food and transportation: The cost of food and transportation on Boracay Island will depend on your preferences and the specific location you are in. There are a variety of options available, ranging from budget-friendly street food to upscale restaurants.
It's difficult to give a specific estimate of the cost of a trip to Boracay Island, as it will depend on your specific preferences and needs. It's a good idea to do some research and compare prices to get a sense of the costs involved and to help you plan your budget.
The USD conversion rate has steadily risen, now nearing $1 per 50PHP; which in Boracay, can go a long way. Accommodations range from the budget-conscious $15 a night to $100+ for a luxury resort which, compared to similar resorts in Thailand or Bali, are an incredible value. The up-front costs of airline tickets are the only significant expense. Meal and drink costs average about $30 per day. From backpackers to families to corporate executives, there’s something for everyone at Boracay.
Boracay is still a Robust Island
A postcard-sized tropical paradise, Boracay is just over four miles long, and less than a half-mile wide at its narrowest point. Its world-renowned White Beach is 2.5 miles of white, powdery-fine sand dotted with resorts, shops, and restaurants. The island is big enough to entertain your group but small enough so that you won't lose your participants. Boracay still has room to grow within, too.
Boracay can provide the venue for an incredibly successful gathering because it has the power to surprise and delight, as well as to host and welcome, all in a beautiful setting at a fantastic value.
Staying in Boracay: Resort Recommendations
I've traveled to Boracay many times, and have worked with several of its top resorts. Shangri-La, The Lind, and Discovery, mainly. Here's a list of the top 10 luxury hotels and resorts in Boracay
Above: Shangrila Resort, Boracay
The top 10 luxury hotels and resorts in Boracay Island, Philippines
- Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa
- Discovery Shores Boracay
- The Lind Boracay
- The Tirta Luxury Villas & Spa
- The District Boracay
- Henann Resort Alona Beach
- The Medusa Boracay
- The Bellevue Resort Boracay
- The Lind Boracay Residences
- The Asya Premier Suites.