By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – With travel restrictions in place due to the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), local and foreign tourists at world-famous Boracay Island in Malay town, Aklan province are now in limbo.
“There are no more incoming visitors to Boracay, but the problem is how the tourists who are already here can go back to their places of origin,” said Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Malay town.
Bautista told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview how several tourists of the country’s most popular beach destination have already sought the help of the Malay local government.
“We in the local government tried to help these tourists, but we can only refer them to the Department of Tourism (DOT),” Bautista said.
As of press time, the exact number of stranded domestic and foreign tourists remains unknown, but this range from less than 100 to as many as 500.
Bautista noted that some of the stranded tourists were able to leave Boracay, and were able to cross to the mainland in Malay town.
“From the mainland, I do not know how they will travel back to their respective homes because there are no more domestic commercial flights while land and sea travel in other parts of Panay Island have also been halted,” Bautista noted.
Many of these tourists already arrived prior to issuance of executive orders from Bautista and Governor Florencio Miraflores, barring the entry of non-residents of Malay town and Aklan province, respectively.