Published: Wednesday 11 April, 2018

Tourist Cap for Boracay: Government Eyeing Limited Entry When it Reopens

The number of tourists entering Boracay may be limited once it re-opens after rehabilitation. A daily tourist cap may be implemented to protect Boracay and its natural resources. Though nothing is final yet, the scheme is carefully being studied.

According to Department of Tourism secretary Wanda Teo, the capacity of Boracay in 2008 was 25,000. And that already includes the number of workers. Now, based on their study, Boracay is being ‘loaded’ with 75,000 people per day. This may be the reason why the island paradise’s resources are being compromised.

Tourist Cap for Boracay

Imposing a tourist cap is nothing new. Teo cited the case of the Underground River in Palawan which has been implementing the scheme for years.

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“Remember in the Underground River, limited lang ang pupunta sa lugar na ‘yun. I think that will be the case with Boracay,” Wanda Teo told Karen Davila on ANC’s Headstart. “So ‘pag puno na ‘yan, then you have to book on the next day. You have to wait. Anyway there’s Caticlan. They can stay in Caticlan, and then when medyo lumabas na ‘yung tourism, then they can go in.”

More recently, a similar tourist cap scheme will be introduced to Thailand’s world-famous Maya Bay. The area has been inundated with tourists ever since it was featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film ‘The Beach’ in 2000. Now, Thai authorities have announced that Maya Bay will be closed for four months every year to let its natural resources recover. Likewise, a daily tourist cap of  2,000 will be implemented when it reopens.

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The government has announced the closure of Boracay to tourists for six months starting April 26 to undertake rehabilitation measures. Despite the protests of businesses and workers on the island, the Duterte administration is determined to pursue the closure seemingly at all costs.

READ: Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines cancel Boracay flight during six-month closure

Tourist Cap? What about planned casinos and hotels?

But critics are questioning the government’s move and ‘real’ intention amid all these closure talk. If it really wants to protect Boracay and impose a tourist cap, why then did it approve the construction of the 1000-room Hotel 101 Resort-Boracay? And what about the casino which was also approved by PAGCOR?

If we really want to save Boracay from over-commercialization and over-capacity, then these mega projects have no place on the island.