LONDON - Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat officially announced to its key travel partners in the UK that the world-famous island Boracay will be open for business starting October 26, but with a few changes.
These changes include no wild, Ibiza-like parties on the island, no alcohol and cigarettes in public and definitely, no drugs.
“Wala na yung La Boracay parties. I-enforce strictly yung batas, 'yung 25-meter easement. So puro white sand. No more tables and chairs (near the beach) because that is against the Water Code," Puyat told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau in an exclusive interview.
She added: “So pwede ka na lumakad in white beach na di nag-aalala na baka masugatan ka kasi may broken beer bottle. At saka worldwide ‘di na uso yung big parties. In fact, Majorca in Ibiza, which is known for wild parties, is more family-oriented. They realized, they earn more.”
Only business establishments that complied with the requirements and the law will be allowed to open on the 26th.
Aimed at gaining from the Build, Build, Build program of the government, DOT vows to continue programs that will create a culture of sustainable tourism.
“Sabi ng Presidente (Duterte), Boracay is just the start. Sabi niya do not wait for us to swoop down and take over your job. Sinabi niya sumunod na kayo sa batas 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 Rodrigo Duterte, praised tourism attaché Gerry Panga for his work. But she also acknowledged that the continuous increase of tourists coming from the UK would not have been possible without the help of the private sector and its key travel partners.
“Yung private sector (importante). Sila ang nagpu-push para bisitahin ang Pilipinas,’ she said.
Despite Brexit and the temporary closure of Boracay for its rehabilitation, UK remains Philippines’ top source of tourists coming from Europe, with 9.39 percent growth rate compared to the same period last year (Jan-Jun).
The Philippines projects 190,000 to 200,000 arrivals from the UK (6% to 10% year-end growth rate) this year, and aims to retain the 8th spot in terms of the number of visitor arrivals into the Philippines.
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 of the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in London on Tuesday, 25 September. Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III led the Philippine delegation, together with key Cabinet ministers tasked to strengthen Philippine-UK trade ties.