The white-sand Philippine island of Boracay welcomed more tourists than allowed during the Easter break, highlighting the challenges to keep Covid-19 under control and preserve environmental gains while satisfying people’s pent-up demand for travel.
Boracay, cited by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the world’s best islands for beaches, welcomed more than 21,000 tourists on April 14 and 15, above the recommended daily limit of 19,215, government data showed.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the environment and local government departments must “address this concern and prevent similar incidents,” according to a statement on Monday. Health and safety protocols must be observed as the island remains under the lowest Covid alert level, said Puyat, quoted separately by ABS-CBN News.
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After two years of Covid restrictions ravaging tourism, the Philippines is easing travel protocols even though it lags behind Southeast Asia in terms of vaccinations. The move is part of efforts to revive the travel and leisure sector, which accounted for 12.8% of the country’s economic output before the pandemic.
Covid gives tourism a chance to contain future environmental damage
Boracay, which boasts fine white sand, has taken a longer hit than other tourist islands. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte closed Boracay for rehabilitation, reopening later that year with restrictions such as a limit of 19,000 tourists at any one time.
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