The number of tourist arrivals in Boracay island showed a slight increase in the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Records from the Malay Tourism Office showed that Boracay received a total of 174,183 visitors in February, a little higher than the 173,256 recorded in the same month last year.

The tourism office meanwhile logged a total of 169,843 arrivals in January, 7 percent higher than the 158,701 registered in the same month in 2016.

Felix delos Santos, chief operation officer of Malay, attributed the increase to the international events held, including the two meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held on Feb. 13-15 and on February 19-21.

Delos Santos said aside from the participants of the meetings, the island also hosted the families and staff of the delegates of the 10 ASEAN countries.

Aside from the ASEAN meetings, the celebration of the Chinese New Year and the Philippine Kiteboarding Tour and the arrival of cruise ships in the island also contributed to the increase, he said.

Meanwhile, the tourism office is positive it will reach the 2 million target for tourist arrivals this year.

Delos Santos said the annual Laboracay, the much-hyped Labor Day event in the island, is expected to bring the bulk of visitors to the island again.

A number of international sporting events are likewise happening in the island in the coming months, among them the Boracay International Beach Volley Competition in April, the International Dragon Boat Competition in May, and the Boracay International Fun Board Cup in October. (PNA) CVL/AJP/KVB/KVB