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Boracay Will Reopen in October

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By Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse

In April of last year, Boracay, the popular Philippine island playground, was closed to tourists in an unprecedented effort to rehabilitate its beaches.

Now, Boracay will reopen to tourists on October 26, 2018, as efforts to bring the island back to its former splendor continue.

“October is only a soft opening … How can you rehabilitate an island under a state of calamity in only six months?” tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said at the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum.

While improvements to the island will be ongoing after its reopening, Boracay’s renewal comes with some new regulations for visitors as well.

All-day, all-night parties, known as “LaBoracay,” will no longer be taking place on the beach. And officials have also indicated that drinking and smoking bans on the beach will be enforced.

According to Puyat, tourism to the island will also be regulated to help ensure that there aren’t too many visitors at one time, once again straining the limited resources of the destination.

She suggested that this would give tourism officials the chance to promote other areas of the country.

During the six-month closure, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, or the BIATF, has worked to clean up, improve and rehabilitate the island.

"Carrying capacity of the island had been breached, leading to the generation of too much waste and deterioration of water quality, among others," the agency noted.

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna also conducted a study to determine how many visitors the island could logistically support without environmental degradation.

When the island does reopen in October, there will be limited facilities, according to the BIATF and improvements will be completed in phases. The second phase is scheduled to be completed in April 2019 and more upgrades will be done by the end of next year.

"We call on the public to wait for an announcement on which compliant and accredited establishments will initially be allowed to operate by October 26 before proceeding with their own reservations," said the BIATF.

A dry run for local tourists will begin on October 15, 2018, to October 25. This will give organizations the ability to assess what else needs to be done before the government reopens Boracay to domestic and foreign tourists.

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