After Maya Bay in Thailand, now the popular tourist island of Boracay in the Philippines is closing during the summer so that it can be cleaned up.
Due to environmental concerns surrounding sewage, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte proposed the idea of closing the island off to tourists starting at the end of April. The suggestion also involved the installation of solid waste management facilities to make the area more environmentally friendly. The country’s environment secretary, Roy Cimatu, seconded Duterte’s suggestion.
The small island of Boracay, just 7 kilometres long, is an incredibly popular tourist destination. Its beaches of stunning white sands attract tourists from all over Asia. The beach itself is only 4 kilometres long and is lined with hotels, diving shops, and restaurants from end-to-end. This means that the beach itself is usually crowded with tourists.
The small island of Boracay in the Philippines is the latest to close to tourists
Almost 1 million visitors come each year according to the Department of Tourism in the Philippines. The upcoming closure will affect many tourists, especially those from Korea and China. The Philippines itself hosts over 6 million visitors annually.
Rowen Aguirre, Municipal Executive Assistant for Boracay Affairs, has said that they would comply with the President’s decision “within our capacity, to help the rehabilitation of the island.” It is hoped that this closure will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the area. With the help of residents, the clean-up operation is set to take less than six months.
This move is one of many greener initiatives being taken by popular tourist destinations to deal with their growing environmental problems. For example, Thailand recently banned smoking at many of its most popular beaches, while Seychelles plans to create protected marine parks in exchange for international aid.