The Filipino island of Boracay, known for its stunning white sand beach, is set to reopen to tourists in October following a six month-long closure. In an unexpected move, the well-loved island was closed completely to visitors last April in hopes of improving its sustainability initiatives and helping it recover from the effects of overtourism. A multi-agency task force has worked over the past six months to remove illegal structures and upgrade the island’s struggling sewage system.
Although Boracay will begin welcoming tourists in October, it won’t be business as usual. Only around 5,000 of the island’s 15,000 hotel rooms are expected to reopen and local authorities will be enforcing stricter no drinking and smoking rules on the beach. Flights in and out of the island will be limited and the Department of Tourism is looking into placing a cap on the number of annual visitors.
More than one million tourists visited Boracay last year, out of 6.6 million tourists to the Philippines overall. The Department of Tourism hopes to increase awareness of other destinations throughout the country and promote tourism to islands beyond Boracay.
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