Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in London Friday, has announced the reopening of Boracay in Aklan on Oct. 26—after a six-month closure—but with changes: no more wild, Ibiza-like parties, neither alcohol and cigarettes nor drugs.
She was referring to Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain, known for its summer club scene which attracts very large numbers of tourists.
But the island’s government and the Spanish Tourist Office have controversially been working to promote more family-oriented tourism.
Ibiza is home to the legendary “port” in Ibiza town, a popular stop for many tourists and now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Friday said the agency had given 25 resorts the green light to operate in time for the soft reopening on Oct. 26.
Undersecretary for Attached Agencies Sherwin Rigor said only 25 resorts with 1,000 rooms shall be made available for the first day of operation after being able to secure the necessary permits.
But he said those given the permits would still have to be regulated.
Only high-capacity boats would be allowed to ferry more passengers per trip with a capacity of 150 to 200 passengers from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. or 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Vegetation; fire dance; fish feeding; coral picking; open fire; the use of kerosene lamps, tables, chairs, and other furniture, and giant beach umbrellas; souvenir shops, and electrical lights are not allowed at the beachfront.
Resort owners must put up a noise insulation in their establishments, and enforce a no-smoking zone and no-build no-party within 25+5 meters of the beachfront.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is considering to ban water sports on the island and to build artificial coral reefs, and that coconut planting shall require a permit.
Rigor said the biodiversity of Boracay Island has not been reviewed in the past 20 years.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the Boracay inter-agency task force has recommended the movement plan that shall regulate tourist arrival.
He, however, gave the assurance that there would be no demolition of homes during the island’s rehabilitation.
On April 26, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the Boracay Island operations to give way to its six-month rehabilitation.