By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—With the gradual reopening of tourist destinations after strict lockdown was eased, the Department of Tourism (DOT-6) is reminding potential visitors of world-famous Boracay Island that they can only stay at certified hotels and resorts.
“They cannot book their stay in unauthorized hotels or resorts,” said DOT Western Visayas Regional Director Helen Catalbas.
The DOT-6 is leading the checking of accredited hotels after the June 16 reopening of the country’s most popular beach destination in Malay town, Aklan province to regional visitors.
As of June 24, DOT has granted 20 hotels and resorts in Boracay with the Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO), while another one has a Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO).
Catalbas explained to Manila Bulletin that a hotel or resort with CAO means it has passed the safety standard, and has established protocols against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We need to make sure they are going to protect both their guests and their workers,” Catalbas emphasized.
She explained that CAO certification can only be given once it is fully inspected by the composite team, which includes members of Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Aklan Provincial Health Office, the Malay Municipal Health Office, and the DOT.
Catalbas said that the lone establishment with PCAO means that it has been inspected, but not by the entire composite team.
The 21 hotels and resorts have combined 756 rooms.
Boracay currently allows entry to visitors who are residents of Western Visayas, a region comprised of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces as well as the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.
However, there has been low turnout.
Catalbas said there are plans to reopen the popular island resort to residents from other regions by July, but that will still depend on the status of COVID-19 cases.