Boracay is back, but its party days are over
A better and more sustainable Boracay is welcoming back visitors after the six months rehabilitation shutdown. The island’s closure (continually on the top of the list as the world’s most beautiful island – despite the closure) is an opportunity to introduce and boost travellers’ awareness on their impact when travelling.
“Eco-friendly policies have been in place for a long time – this is nothing new, says Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, “People just need to follow them. The environment is important. We need to change the mindset of the people.”
Boracay is famed for its sugary white sands, turquoise waters, lively nightlife and abundant water sports, which attracted nearly 2 million domestic and foreign visitors last year. After the re-opening, only 19000 tourists will be allowed on the island on any given day.
Regulations are being tightly enforced. For example, tourists will be banned from setting up day beds, tables and chairs, beach umbrellas and the like anywhere within 30 metres from the shoreline.
There will now also be rigorous rules on partying, which include no alcohol on the beaches. At the same time, water sports like jet skiing must take place at least 200 metres from the shoreline.
With the Philippines leading the change for sustainable tourism in Southeast Asia, it is hoped that the region’s policymakers will focus more on the yield rather than raw numbers.
There will always be some trade-off between development and protecting ecology and culture. But mass tourism and environmental protection aren’t mutually exclusive. (See our blog about responsible tourism here). As travelers, we often talk about what we take home; we should also ask what we are leaving behind.
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