Philippines promises nature, business balance as Boracay prepares to reopen
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Philippines promises nature, business balance as Boracay prepares to reopen

IN APRIL, the resort island of Boracay officially closed off to tourists to allow for a six-month-long restoration project.

The dramatic tourist ban came under scrutiny with claims that it violated a handful of things including the constitutional right to travel. The Philippines’ armed forces swooped in to shuttle remaining tourists off the once pristine shores of Boracay.

Boracay, with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, sees an estimated US$772.5 million in revenue every year.

Considered as one of the Southeast Asian country’s major tourist destinations, it attracts approximately two million annual visitors, close to half of which are foreigners.

SEE ALSO: Bye Bye Boracay: Duterte approves 6-month closure of famous tourist hot spot

Boracay is especially popular with Chinese and South Korean tourists.

The closure led to airline companies such as AirAsia suspending all flights to the destination, offering instead other alternatives and service recovery options. Hotels and resorts on the island scrambled to attend to guests with affected bookings.

The hiatus also affected restaurants, cafes, vendors, and other businesses on the island.

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Gina Galan, 45, collects plastic bottles on the Boracay dumpsite called “materials recovery facility (MRF)” in the Philippine island of Boracay on April 25, 2018. The President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the once-idyllic white-sand resort closed to tourists for up to six months from April 26, after describing the country’s top tourist attraction as a “cesspool” tainted by raw sewage. Source: Noel Celis/AFP

Two issues that are being addressed in Boracay’s rehabilitation are the setting up of sewage treatment plants for hotels and proper relocation sites for illegal wetland occupants, according to Rappler.

However, the rehabilitation period will soon come to an end and Boracay will once again be ready to receive tourists in October.

The Philippine Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) confirmed visitors will be able to enjoy a “Better Boracay” on Oct 26, 2018.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: What is happening on Boracay?

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, who is in charge of the Save Boracay Task Force (SBTF), said he will make sure that each beach resort on Boracay maintains its own sewage treatment plant.

Task force officials will ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws once the establishments resume operation.

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Source: Shutterstock.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Tourism has vowed to do its part to sustain Boracay’s rehabilitated state.

“We need to strike a balance between nurturing our natural endowments like Boracay and sourcing our people’s livelihood off them,” PDOT Secretary Bernadette-Romulo-Puyat said, stressing the need for environmental protection and a sustainable and inclusive tourism programme.

“The task force will see to it that only compliant establishments will be open for business to ensure that our guests will get the world class service they deserve,” said Puyat.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Travel Wire Asia

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