The island of Boracay, in the Philippines, has opened to tourism after a six month revamp.
Far Out reported that six months ago, due to a number of reasons, the Department of Tourism closed down access to the island in a bid to save the environment and make the growth of the island in a more sustainable and less detrimental to its inhabitants, tourists and the island itself.
The island, which had started to gain the reputation as a party island, had several issues such as illegal construction, an insufficient waste management system and several other factors that were damaging to the island’s well-being. The DoT has been working hard over the last few months to ensure that more sustainable management and procedures are in place. Reopening its doors to tourism as of the 26th October, they now believe they have created a safer and more manageable type of tourism.
So what has changed? Well, some ideas which were previously mentioned when looking into a more sustainable Boracay have now been implemented.
Smoking and drinking will no longer be permitted on the beach, there will now be designated areas for both activities. Also along the beachfront bonfires, masseuse and vendors will no longer be permitted. On top of that, three casinos have been closed and water sports are over until a marine assessment has been carried out. Arguably the biggest change, however, sees island officials enforce stipulations in regards to the number of tourists actually allowed on the island at one time. Specifically, the DoT has stated that only 19,200 tourists will be allowed on the island at one time. This is a huge difference when considering that Labor Day weekend celebrations drew in crowds of up to 70,000 in one weekend.
These strong changes are a bold and promising move for this unique and spectacular island and one that other islands with the same issues may need to look at for a more sustainable lifespan. Only last month, Maya Beach, the location made famous from Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Beach, was closed indefinitely to tourists.