Boracay to accept tourists beginning Oct. 1: tourism chief

Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2020 10:43 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2020 03:21 PM

This photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a policeman standing guard along the empty famous white beach of Boracay Island in central Philippines, as community quarantine against COVID-19 still continues throughout the country, with foreign tourists still banned on beaches. Ernesto Cruz, AFP

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Top tourist destination Boracay will accept travelers from all over the country beginning October 1, the Department of Tourism said Wednesday.

All tourists will be required to present a negative confirmatory test result for COVID-19 taken 48 to 72 hours prior to their travel, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Airlines are advised to use the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan as the sole airport of entry to Boracay, she added.

In June, the island opened to residents of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Bacolod and Iloilo. It had closed last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 199 hotels and resorts in the island with a total of 4,416 rooms have been allowed to operate since June, the official said.

Boracay is "well-prepared" for its opening next month, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

"Well in place, nakita namin ang preparation nila at masasabi na come Oct. 1 prepared na ang Boracay sa ating domestic tourists," he said in a virtual press briefing.

(The preparations are well in place and we can say that come Oct. 1 Boracay is prepared for domestic tourists.)

The tourist-favorite island has an isolation facility and those who test positive or are suspected of carrying the disease will be transferred to mainland Aklan, Año said.

The Philippines as of Tuesday reported 291,789 cases of COVID-19, with 5,049 deaths and 230,643 recoveries.