P20B losses seen with Boracay closure

Elias Hubbard
April 6, 2018

Harry Roque, who is the official Secretary of the President of the Philippines, announced that from 26 April 2018 the entrance to the island Baraki, which enjoys unprecedented demand among foreign tourists, will be banned within six months.

The tourism industry urged a less drastic approach to rehabilitating the island and to delay the planned closure.

The Philippines is closing its best-known holiday island Boracay to tourists for up to six months over concerns that the once idyllic white-sand resort has become a "cesspool" tainted by dumped sewage, authorities said on Thursday.

"And the closure is necessary to ensure that Boracay will be there for the next generation", Roque said.

Hundreds of Boracay hotels, as well as restaurants, tour operators and business establishments were on Friday unwinding bookings for rooms, flights, weddings and other events and facilities.

Starting April 20, PAL will deploy additional flights on routes between Manila and Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod.

Affected Cebu Pacific flights are Manila-Caticlan-Manila, Cebu-Caticlan-Manila, Caticlan-Clark-Caticlan, Manila-Kalibo-Manila, Cebu-Kalibo-Cebu, Clark-Kalibo-Clark and Kalibo-Incheon-Kalibo.

"Boracay is a national treasure", PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said in a statement.

Philippine Airlines said it supported the government's decision.

The government will start by checking which hotels and resorts comply with environmental regulations and then build new sewage lines on the island. Inspectors found over 800 environmental violations.

This, he said, would result in higher tourism revenues for the whole of Aklan province, more jobs for locals, and increased competitiveness of the Philippines as a tourist destination while also allowing for the decongestion of Boracay island.

Ang stressed all concerned sectors, including government, businesses, developers, and its residents, must also look beyond the island and move to disperse tourism to nearby municipalities such as Caticlan and Nabas.

A moderately strong 5.9-magnitude quake struck at sea off the main southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said, though local authorities said they did not expect any damage.

Boracay had almost 2 million visitors in 2017.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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