Philippines’ Boracay Island Reopens For Tourists, But Don’t Expect To Party
By Sharelle Burt
The Boracay Island in the Philippines is reopening for tourists after being shut down for six months, but its party days are over.
Drinking and smoking in public places will be banned, along with the late-night parties.which made the island a top tourist spot. So if you’re looking for a spot with beach parties and spring break-like activities, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Representatives say guests should look forward to something a little different. “Our guests can expect a better Boracay when it comes to maintaining a high environmental standard,” tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said via Facebook messenger.
Travelers looking for excursions will have a wait a little while as jet skis and other water sports will be banned until further notice. Looks like the big kids inside of us won’t have anything to do either. According to a Twitter advisory by Cebu Air Inc., even making a sand castle can be regulated. Before you can even enter the island, guests will have to have a confirmed bookings with an accredited hotel. Talk about a tough crowd.
With more regulations rolling in, only 6,405 arrivals per day will be allowed and only 19,000 tourists granted entry to the island at any given time. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu even said in a televised briefing that while on the beach, civilians will be accompanied by police officers to make sure tourists were sticking to environmental guidelines. “We will be monitoring those littering on the beach, and there will be corresponding penalties. We will really implement ordinances and laws on the environment,” Cimatu said.
The country is setting the trend for other nations. Thailand, who gets five times more tourists than the Philippines, is also putting rules in place for their beachgoers. Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte called Boracay a “cesspool,” and ordered the closing on April 26 so the island could be mended. In a speech Wednesday, Duterte said more casinos and hotels isn’t in his vision for Boracay, insisting he would rather let the locals take ownership. “Even if all these rich investors will pour their money there, Boracay can only carry so much,” he said.