Boracay reopens to local tourists

Resorts, hotels and restaurants on Boracay Island have set up health and safety guidelines as they prepare to welcome more visitors to jump-start the local economy. Boracay’s gradual reopening is seen as a model in the recovery of the tourism sector that was badly hit by the pandemic. | Inquirer.net photo by Jack Jarilla

THIRTY-FIVE visitors flew to Boracay Island after the famous tourist spot reopened its doors to domestic tourists on Thursday, Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said on Friday, October 2.

“There were actually 35 tourists who came to Boracay yesterday by air, land and sea,” she said.

“Of course there were people from Aklan, also some from Iloilo. Yung mga tiga-Manila would only be seven (Only seven came from Metro Manila),” she added.

Puyat also said she’s expecting more people will come during the All Saints’ Day celebration.

“It’s better now that they’re coming little by little. It will be hard if people rush in and we’re not prepared,” she said.

The tourism chief assured the public that safety protocols are being implemented on the island.

“The DOT, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, Department of Environment and Natural Resources under Secretary Roy Cimatu, Department of the Interior and Local Government under Secretary Eduardo Año, the province of Aklan and the municipality of Malay have implemented enhanced hygiene and safety protocols in entry points, accommodations and activities,” said Puyat.

“We advise all tourists to be on strict quarantine immediately after the PCR test and until the time of travel to the island to ensure that they will remain COVID-19 free before they visit Boracay,” she added.

Incoming tourists are required to have negative RT-PCR test results within 48 to 72 hours before they can travel to Boracay. They also need to have a confirmed booking with a DOT–accredited establishment.

“A confirmed booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, air tickets and negative test results should be submitted online, through http://aklan.gov.ph, for the approval of the Aklan provincial government,” the agency said.

Cleared visitors will be issued with a personal quick response (QR) code for contact tracing purposes.

“We urge our visitors to be responsible tourists. Follow the guidelines, respect the rules. We can never be too complacent, even on vacation. We must adhere to the minimum health protocols. Let’s wear our mask when possible,” Puyat stressed.

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