Tourists will temporarily bid farewell to one of the country’s premier beach destination starting today, as authorities implement the 6-month shutdown of Boracay to give way for its rehabilitation.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure, following the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The move was not without opposition with several business owners in the island contesting the idea noting how at least 36,000 people could be displaced by the shutdown, adding some P56 billion in tourism revenue could be lost in the process as well.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo expressed confidence the shutdown could end in less than six-months, depending on the cooperation of the stakeholders and the agencies involved.
In any case, she has big plans set for the re-opening of the island, including the hosting of the 2019 Miss Universe pageant there.
“It’s not yet sure but I’m working with the Miss Universe. I want Miss Universe to be here,” she said.
Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, on his part, assured that once the island is rehabilitated, the “new” Boracay will have “features that would be at par with global standards.” (Analou De Vera)