Boracay finally reopens

Boracay, whose name echoes as one of the World’s Best Island and the “Best in Asia,” finally reopens on October 1, 2020.

The comeback of Boracay beach in its tourism operations amazed beachgoers, who were not able to bask under the sun for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Frolibar Bautista, the mayor of Boracay, announced via ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo interview that the island finally reopened. During the broadcast, he assured tourists that after months of 7 months of closure, Boracay’s white-sand beach looks even more spectacular than before.

“Boracay looks beautiful now after being closed for months. The water, the beach, they’re crystal clear,” he said in Filipino and English in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

With more relaxed travel restrictions by the Philippine government, the local government of Boracay hopes to revive its tourism-dependent economy by reopening the island. The mayor appealed to Filipinos to visit the island first since International flights are still not available for foreigners.

“The breeze is nice, but it’s not that strong. Boracay is waiting for tourists to arrive from all over the Philippines….I ask our Filipino tourists to please bring your friends and families and enjoy our beautiful island,” Bautista stated.

The mayor of Boracay in Aklan is appealing to Filipinos to visit the island. The travel restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic severely battered the island’s economy, creating unemployment rates to surge among locals.

Boracay Hotels also reopened

As Boracay reopens, so does its hotels. Starting October 1, the local government allows hotels on the island to operate at 50% capacity, with one bedroom allowed only for 2 guests. The world’s best island is home to at least 383 bars and restaurants accredited the government.

Even if Boracay already reopened, the Department of Tourism (DOT) mandated beachgoers to still follow their protocols. Initially, only guests aged 21 to 59 years old can visit the island in the meantime. However, the DOT appealed to the anti-coronavirus task force lifting the age restriction among tourists.

On the other hand, all guests have to present a negative RT-PCR test 48 to 72 hours before arrival. The RT-PCR, considered the gold standard in coronavirus testing, costs about PHP2,000 (US$41.26) in a government-run hospital.

The pandemic is not the first crisis that brought Boracay to its knees. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay for six months, citing the need to rehabilitate it. The temporary closure led to the loss of thousands of jobs and the shutdown of scores of businesses.

Moreover, other tourist destinations in the Philippines like Cebu is also resuming its tourism operations thanks to the gradual decline of daily COVID-19 infections.

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