INTERIOR Undersecretary Empimaco Densing III on Wednesday, July 18 said the target reopening of Boracay island on October 26 will proceed.
“Oct. 26 is a go based on (Environment) Secretary Roy Cimatu na madalas sa (who is always in) Boracay,” he said in a radio interview.
Densing noted the significant improvement in the water’s quality. According to him, the previously brown and foul-smelling water on Bulabog beach was already “bluish” and did not emit any unpleasant smells two weeks ago.
He also mentioned how the demolition activities in some structures that violated environment rules like building hotel in prohibited areas are about 65-percent complete.
He said, “In West Cove, I know in the next Senate hearing on environment, the owner is being subpoenaed to answer why there is a structure in a no-build zone.”
“At present, the demolition, which is very sensitive as it is adjacent to the mountain, is already 65 percent. It will worsen the damage if it is continued,” he added.
Since its closure, Boracay has remained peaceful with no serious incidents. The Metro Boracay Police Task Force (MBPTF), with its responsive police interventions and strategies, is the vital player in the security cluster on the implementation of the closure and the massive rehabilitation of island.
In cooperation with other government agencies, other stakeholders, and the community, the projected rise of crimes claimed by critics before Boracay’s closure has been controlled.
According to the Philippine embassy in London, tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom and Ireland increased from January to May despite the island’s temporary closure.
Citing Department of Tourism (DOT)’s report, it is shown that tourist arrivals from the UK and Ireland increased by around nine percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, from January to May versus the same period last year.
Around 90,000 British tourists arrived in the Philippines for the first five months of this year, meanwhile around 8,000 came from Ireland.
Within the European region, the UK registered as the country with the highest number of tourist arrivals to the Philippines. Worldwide, it is the eighth largest tourism market after South Korea, China, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada and Taiwan.
“We implemented high-impact consumer activations and digital marketing campaigns to draw British travelers to the Philippines especially for the winter holidays, and to expand our overall market reach in UK,” Philippine Tourism Attaché for Northern and Southern Europe Gerardo Panga said.
According to him, the keys in igniting interest in the Philippines as a travel destination in Southeast Asia are strong partnerships with major British tour operators and airlines, as well as the Philippines’ vast network of media partners and travel influencers.
These two factors account for the sustained increase in British tourist arrivals to the Philippines in the past few years, Panga said.