The paradise for the honeymoon – Boracay might be closed for half a year. The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced last Tuesday that he will support the recommendation made by Interior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año about the closure of Boracay for rehabilitation. The closure might be implemented as soon as possible in April.
Boracay located in the middle of the Philippines has attracted a large number of tourists from all around the world with the beautiful scenery and blue waters, and it is famous for its White Beach on the western coast, amazing seashells and sunset. White Beach was even selected as the most beautiful beach outside America by the readers of Condé Nast traveling magazine in 2017.
There were more than 2 million travelers visiting Boracay in 2017, and more than 50% of them were foreigners. The yearly tourism income was estimated to be 56 billion peso dollars. (about 1 billion US dollars)
Despite the money and investment, the proper tourism has also brought amount of destruction of the environment. Due to the rising fame of Boracay, beside millions of tourists, a lot of migrants move in the island looking forward to a job here, which have made huge burden to the environment: sewage being drained into the ocean without treatments illegally, insufficiency of facilities of garbage disposal, and harm on coral reefs.
According to CNN, when taking a business trip to Boracay last year, Duterte found out that there was a lot of waste and trash in less than 20 meters by the beach, not to mention the smell. Duterte even regarded Boracay as a septic tank in a speech in February, and warned that if the local tourism companies fail to improve the environment, the whole island would be closed. The ministry of environment, tourism and interior of the Philippines commonly set up an ad hoc group across departments, and it recommended the President Duterte to place Boracay in an “emergency level” for a year, in order to improve the drainage systems and transport networks, build facilities of garbage disposal, tear down illegal buildings and broaden the roads.
The deputy of interior Epimaco Densing III noted that the closure of Boracay will be implemented as soon as April while taking an interview on radio, and the time of this closure depends on the situation of rehabilitation, which might last for one year. Although local businesses will not be ordered to suspend business in this period, they will face the dilemma that there will be no visitors coming to Boracay.
The tourism businesses oppose the project to close Boracay , saying the government should not punish all people because of few companies that have destroyed the environment. They stated that the closure must have a great impact on the local residents, tourism association, travel agencies, resorts, and airlines. A lot of visitors have booked the flight tickets and hotel room in advance last year. Therefore, the closure might bring about the compensation problems. Besides, some investors have borrowed capitals from the banks to build or extend resorts; if they are unable to operate the turnover, it will be difficult for them to repay the loan.