Following mixed reactions that there will be “no more wild parties and booze” in Boracay when it reopens next month, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat officially announced to key travel partners in the United Kingdom that when the world-famous island opens for business starting 26 October, there will be a few but significant changes.
These include no wild, Ibiza-like parties on the island, no alcohol and cigarettes in public and, definitely, no drugs.
“No more La Boracay parties, and we will strictly enforce the 25-meter easement,” Romulo-Puyat said.
“So it will be purely white sand and there will be no more tables and chairs near the beach because that is against the Water Code,” the secretary said in an online interview.
The Tourism secretary added that people can safely walk the beaches without fear of stepping on some broken beer bottles and stressed that big parties are not the “in” thing anymore.
“In fact, Majorca in Ibiza, which is known for wild parties, is more family-oriented. They realized, they earn more,” the Tourism chief explained.
Only business establishments that have complied with the requirements and the law will be allowed to open on the 26th.
Aimed at gaining from the government’s Build, Build, Build agenda, the Department of Tourism (DoT) vows to continue programs that will create a culture of sustainable tourism.
“The President said Boracay is just the start. He said do not wait for us to swoop down and take over your job and stressed that they need to follow the law or else, you’re next,” Romulo-Puyat said.
In front of the DoT’s leading travel partners, the secretary, whose briefing was twice interrupted by telephone calls of President Duterte, praised Tourism attaché Gerry Panga for his work.
But she also acknowledged that the continuous increase in tourists coming from the UK would not have been possible without the help of the private sector and its key travel partners.
Despite Brexit and the temporary closure of Boracay for its rehabilitation, the UK remains the Philippines’ top source of tourists coming from Europe, with 9.39 percent growth rate compared to the same period last year (January to June 2017).
This year, the Philippines is projecting 190,000 to 200,000 arrivals from the UK (6 to 10 percent year-end growth rate) and aims to retain the eighth spot in terms of the number of visitor arrivals in the Philippines.
The DoT’s goal this year is 7.4 million tourists, an increase of 11.3 per cent from 2017.
Puyat is in the UK as a participant in the Philippine Economic Briefing held in London on Tuesday, 25 September. The delegation was led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III together with key Cabinet ministers tasked to strengthen Philippine-UK trade ties.