Boracay is back, business is booming – Tourism chief

By Analou de Vera

The government’s rehabilitation efforts in Boracay are bearing fruit as the island is now back to its pristine condition and businesses are starting to prosper –a year after it was closed to tourists, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

A dog wades in the murky water of Bolabog Beach, the spot for kite surfing at world-famous Boracay Island. (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)
A dog wades in the murky water of Bolabog Beach, the spot for kite surfing at world-famous Boracay Island. (TARA YAP / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Everything is moving according to plan,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a text message to reporters.

Puyat said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) “has done an excellent job” as the coliform bacteria level in the island’s waters is now “under safe standard levels” as compared to its high level of one million coliform bacteria prior to its shutdown.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has also finished the rehabilitation of the island’s main roads, while the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone (TIEZA) “is on-track in the construction of the drainage system for the island,” said Puyat.

“We’re also happy to note that more than 160 establishments have already complied with the 25+5 easement recovery,” she said.

Puyat said that they “have maintained the carrying capacity of 19,215 tourists at any given time” since Boracay was reopened last October.

“More importantly, business is booming,” said the tourism chief.

“We’ve accredited more than 300 accommodation establishments already. Our accreditation process is still on-going for those that are still non-compliant,” she said.

Based on the latest Boracay bulletin, a total of 339 accommodation establishments accounting to 12,083 rooms are now accredited to operate in Boracay as of April 8.

“All efforts are on track to phase three (of the rehabilitation) as we continue to make Boracay as [a] model of sustainable tourism,” said Puyat.

Previously, the tourism chief said that they are expecting to complete the rehabilitation of Boracay by December of this year.

The world-famous island was closed to tourist on April 26, 2018 as ordered by President Duterte, to fix its environmental-problems. Six months later (October 26), Boracay welcomed back its visitors and it now reflects the government’s advocacy of responsible and sustainable tourism.