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Boracay island shut down by Filipino government for 6 months

Nadja Beschetnikova
April 27, 2018

The popular Philippine holiday island Boracay will be closed to tourists for six months from April, 26.

In the travel magazine "Condé Nast Traveller", Boracay was voted the most beautiful island in the world in 2017. With white sandy beaches, clear water, and breathtaking diving tours, the Philippine island of Boracay attracted more than two million tourists last year. But President Rodrigo Duterte described the island in February as a "cloaca" due to hygiene deficiencies. An investigation revealed that many hotels, restaurants, and shops discharge their wastewater directly into the sea. There is no functioning sewerage system on Boracay. The seawater is contaminated with E.coli bacteria, which also occur in the human intestine.

The authorities now announced that they would use the period of closure to build new drainage systems, demolish illegally built accommodations and punish environmental offenses. The government has promised about 40 million euros in financial aid.

However, the decision drew an angry rebuke from the local population, since most of them are engaged in tourism. There are more than 4500 hotels, restaurants and other businesses that make a living from tourism. In addition, the construction of a $500 million casino resort on Boracay was approved shortly before Duterte's decree. The 40,000 inhabitants of the island are facing uncertain times.

Many people think that it would have been enough to gradually solve the problems instead of a total ban on visits. But now over 600 security forces ensure that tourists do not enter the island. The Coast Guard uses boats to check that no one goes into the water. The soldiers are carrying machine guns. Only those who can prove that they are residents are allowed to use the ferries.  

Borocay is to be re-opened in November. 

Photo via Wikipedia Commons / Alexey Komarov