MANILA - Vacation rates in Boracay, one of the country's primary tourist spots, may go up when it finally opens to visitors after a state-initiated 6-month cleanup, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Tuesday.
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said the government eyes limiting the number of tourists entering Boracay to around 19,000 after studies showed that for years, arrivals on the island had been way beyond its carrying capacity.
"Kung gagamitin natin ang basic supply-demand [law], may potential po na ang Boracay ay magmahal. In other words, liliit ho 'yung dami ng turistang papasok pero dahil may demand ho siya, baka tumaas ang presyo," he told DZMM Teleradyo.
(If we use the law of supply and demand, there's a potential that rates in Boracay will rise. In other words, because there will be fewer tourists visiting the island amid high demand, the rates may go up.)
According to Densing, the total carrying capacity of Boracay is 55,000 people composed of 36,000 workers and residents, and 19,000 tourists. But government data shows tourist arrivals there reach around 70,000 a day during Labor Day celebrations.
The DILG official said members of the inter-government agency group Task Force Boracay will meet on Friday to discuss details on how to control tourist arrivals on the island. He said they will make sure that ordinary Filipinos can still enjoy Boracay.
"Ang mangyayari din diyan is moving forward, isa kasi sa pinag-uusapan namin, dapat 'yung mga turista is nandoon na sa mainland Caticlan. Tapos day tour na lang 'yung pagpasok sa island. 'Yan ang magiging future na tinitingnan natin," he said.
(One of the things we're considering moving forward is putting the tourists on mainland Caticlan and make the visit to the island just a day tour. That's one future we're looking at.)
A soft opening for Boracay has been set on October 26, Friday. Massive pollution on the island prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to enforce a half-year shutdown to make way for an island-wide cleanup.
Densing said Boracay, so far, is now tourist-ready with coliform on its beaches significantly reduced to lower-than-threshold levels. The government, he said, will be strict on granting permits to hotels in the island.