Philippines' Boracay island to reopen after 6-month cleanup

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Philippines' Boracay island to reopen after 6-month cleanup

October 16, 2018 - 16:11
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Boracay is to reopen on 26 October after being closed for rehabilitation since April after President Duterte visited the island and was reportedly outraged by “environmental violations”

(file photo) Beach on Boracay

After an initial six-month cleanup, government officials have confirmed Boracay will have a “soft opening”, with only certain hotels allowed to operate, offering around 5,000 beds in total.

Boracay, located off the northern tip of the central island of Panay, is famed for its sugary white sands, turquoise waters, lively nightlife and abundant water sports, which attracted nearly 2 million domestic and foreign visitors last year.

Going forward, the number of visitors will be limited—with just 19,000 holidaymakers allowed on the island on any given day and workers capped at 15,000 daily.

According to undersecretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Sherwin Rigor, only half of the island's 12,000 existing hotel rooms will also be allowed to open each day, to ensure the number of guests on the tiny 4-sq-mile island is below its "carrying capacity" of 55,000. Rigor added that authorities would ban beachfront parties, and activities such as eating, smoking and drinking there.

The aim is to make the island, which previously attracted two million visitors a year more appealing to families and couples, rather than hard partiers.

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