BORACAY, Aklan — After months of lockdown, businesses here are seeing brighter days following an increase in tourist arrivals and local activity.
But to keep the peace and safety in the famed island destination, tourists must be honest about their health status, locals appealed. This, after several people were arrested for presenting fake COVID negative certifications.
The Department of Tourism said visitors from NCR Plus must obtain legitimate RT-PCR swab results when entering the island.
"Hassle. Instead na mag-enjoy sila dito, ipu-pull out sila, ika-quarantine sila, ite-test sila that’s why we encourage our tourists to comply sa mga legit requirements naman," said Felix Delos Santos of DOT-Malay.
Tourist dishonesty also posed threats to businesses that have yet to recover from losses brought about by the lockdown.
Vendors like Irish Pida saw a respite from hunger as soon as tourists came back.
"Yung asawa ko naninisid ng isda, yun lang may isda makabenta ng isang kilo dalawang kilo para may pambili ng bigas. Ngayon kumikita na ng P300 minsan P500," said Pida.
(My husband catches fish so we could sell 1 or 2 kilos of it to buy rice. Now I can also earn P300, sometimes P500.)
E-trike driver Dominador Unlayao said he was relieved that the island accepted tourists again.
“Sa ngayon medyo okay na na may bisitang pumapasok di tulad noon puro lokal lang,” he said.
(It's better now that the tourists are back.)
As of June 7, 2021, some 3,674 visitors have arrived in Boracay since the IATF allowed people from the NCR Plus to come to the island effective June 1.
For tourist Janine Galang, a long-awaited trip to Boracay with the family is more than a breath of fresh air amid the pandemic.
"Yung opportunity na makapunta ng Boracay at makalabas ulit ng house after two years ng pandemic malaking relief sya sa mental health," Galang told ABS-CBN News.
(It was such a relief to go to Boracay after being locked down in the house due to the pandemic. This is good for our mental health.)
Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Wesley Van Der Voort said tourist arrivals will definitely boost the ailing local economy.
"It’s awesome. We need to rebound, we need tourists otherwise we cannot sustain ourselves," said Van Der Voort.
The Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry is meanwhile pushing for the testing of locals to manage COVID-19 cases in the island.
"One thing that I hope the LGU is adopting is that even the residents should be tested when they come back to the island,” Van Der Voort said.
As of June 6, 2021, the local government of Malay has recorded 17 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the municipality’s total number of cases to 428, with 3 deaths.