In Boracay, the Philippines (Source: AFP)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines welcomed a record number of tourists to its beaches and diving spots last year despite the six-month closure of well-known destination Boracay island.

The country of more than 7,000 islands witnessed an increase of nearly 8 percent in tourist arrivals, with the Republic of Korea (RoK) the largest source.

Before the closure of Boracay from April – October 2018 at the order of President Rodrigo Duterte due to worsening pollution, the resort island welcomed more than 2 million visitors each year.

Philippine Tourism Minister Bernadette Romulo Puyat described the shutdown as a sound decision, adding that some of tourism traffic was diverted to other destinations such as Palawan and Siargao.

While the RoK led in tourist arrivals in the Philippines with 1.6 million people, China came second with a 30 percent rise to 1.3 million people, while those from the US numbered 1 million.-VNA