The Philippines dominates top islands list

MANILA, 12 October 2020: The Philippines dominates Asia’s top-ranked island destinations according to the Top 10 of the Condé Nast Traveler’s (CNT) 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Cebu and the Visayan islands ranked top of the Islands in Asia, leading with three other Philippine islands — Palawan (4), Siargao (5), and Boracay (6) — also making it to the top 10 list. The Philippines, at four out of 10, gained the most slots in the international travel magazine’s annual list. Thailand followed with three islands — Pha Ngan (3), Phuket (8) and Samui (10).

“This latest citation from CNT gives us in the Department of Tourism (DOT) a boost of confidence, as we continuously carry out our strategies to gradually reopen domestic tourism, to once again welcome travellers from other countries when things become better,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a news release at the weekend.

In its 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards, CNT invited 600,000 travellers to vote online for the Top Islands in six areas – Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific, the Caribbean and the Atlantic, Africa and the Indian Ocean, Europe, and North America.

In last year’s Condé Nast ranking, the Philippine islands took three places among the top islands in Asia.

“Located in the centre of the Philippines, Cebu draws millions of travellers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan,” CNT wrote in its entry on Cebu in The Best Islands in the World: 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

With more island destinations in the Philippines gaining traction worldwide, Puyat said the challenge for the DOT is to continue advocating sustainable and responsible tourism practices that would help preserve these destinations.

“With over 7,641 islands in our archipelago, there are still so many left for nature-loving travellers to discover. In our journey towards tourism revival, sustainable and responsible tourism development shall continue to be one of the DOT’s core principles, just like how it has always been in the past few years,” she said.

The Maldives is missing from the “Best Islands in Asia”, but figures on the list of top islands for Africa and the Indian Ocean.


  1. Cebu & Visayan Islands, Philippines 95.83
  2. Sri Lanka 95.45
  3. Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand 95.30
  4. Palawan, Philippines 95.22
  5. Siargao, Philippines 95.19
  6. Boracay, Philippines 95.06
  7. Lombok, Indonesia 94.59
  8. Phuket, Thailand 94.12
  9. Bali, Indonesia 93.27
  10. Koh Samui, Thailand 92.73