The economy of Boracay is of course, heavily dependent on tourism. Its beaches, caves and watersports activities have made it an integral part of Philippine tourism in general.
Tourism was not always the main engine driving the economy of the island. Prior to the tourism boom, there used to be several villages that made their living by fishing. The fish would be sold to the wet markets in the surrounding areas.
The earnings that people made were modest at best. It all depended on how many fish they could catch and sell. Needless to say, they were also dependent on the weather.
Although the economy of Boracay today is focused on tourism, it was originally set up as an agricultural land in 1949. It is understandable why fishing and agriculture became the livelihood of its inhabitants. It had (and still has) aquatic resources emanating from Sibuyan and Sulu seas.
The popularity of Boracay can be seen by the number of people visiting the place. In the past decade alone, over a million people visited the island. In economic terms, this would translate to over 1.5 billion USD. The figures have increased even more. By the mid 1990s, revenues had reached almost 3 billion USD.
Local and Foreign Tourists
Majority of the revenue has been produced by the more than 2 million foreign tourists who go to the island. However, the island is also popular with local tourists. Economists estimate that nearly 12 million local tourists visit the island. They bring in revenues of about 40 billion Php (almost a billion USD).
The island economy continues to grow at a rapid pace. The WTO (World Tourism Organization) has stated that its growth is the fastest in Southeast Asia. Currently, its economy makes up an important part of the Philippine GNP. Of course it spearheads the tourism sector.
The island was unknown to the outside world until the 1970s. It was Manuel Elizalde who, more than anyone else, helped introduce the island to the rest of the world. Since that time, the world has become captivated by the sights and sounds of the island.
The economy of Boracay started to boom in the 1980s. As word of the white sand beaches spread, backpackers and travelers started coming to the island in droves.
By the start of the 1990s, millions of people had become familiar with the place. What used to be a fishing village has turned into one of the vital cogs of the Philippine economy.