Tourism Chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat urges visitors to respect and observe local regulations to help protect and preserve Boracay Island.
Puyat made the appeal during the much-awaited reopening of the island, stressing the importance of a collective effort from the island’s residents and its visitors alike.
“As we welcome a Better Boracay, the Department of Tourism urges everyone to be responsible tourists. It is the key to the preservation of this national treasure,” says Puyat.
The first phase of the rehabilitation, which covers the moratorium on tourism activities since April 26, 2018, addressed the extreme environmental degradation, particularly seawater pollution and illegal encroachment, in beach easement areas.
“During the dry run, about a week ago, people would come up to the members of the BIATF and tell us, “This shoreline, the beachfront we are seeing now, this is the Boracay we fell in love with 30 years ago,” enthused Puyat.
Puyat ensured that there will be a strict enforcement of existing guidelines and policies such as the ordinance prohibiting the drinking of alcohol and smoking in public places, no partying within the no-build zone easement, regulation of sand castle-making, and prohibition of open fires and use of kerosene gas/fuel lamps.
“The Boracay experience is the ultimate lesson in balancing development and protecting the environment. The lessons learned here are not for Boracay alone but also for the other island destinations around our beautiful country,” added the tourism chief.
Meanwhile, Puyat clarified that while the BIATF will enforce a limitation on the number of tourists allowed in the island, currently pegged at 19,215 guests per day, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will continue to accredit compliant accommodation establishments that pass the standards of the agency.
“More rooms will be available as we continue on with Phases 2 and 3 of Boracay’s massive rehabilitation. We are making sure the Task Force requirements are 100% complied with,” said Puyat.