By Charlie Greene Since Boracay opened to tourists from the Western Visayas first on June one, then to tourists from much of the rest of the country on October one, the numbers that are actually arriving has been extremely disappointing for businesses and the Department of Tourism (DOT) alike.
We have seen a few arrivals, but nowhere near enough to sustain the few businesses that were brave enough to open up amidst the health restrictions imposed on the travel industry. The expensive swab test and the self-quarantine (48-72 hours) prior to the travel time, has undoubtably been a major stumbling block for anyone making their vacation plans.
But, as hoped for by the Boracay community, a change of tactics by the local government unit (LGU) appears to be on the horizon.
Boracay business leaders, members from the Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) and LGU officials recently met with a view to scrapping the mandatory tests as a requirement for entry onto the Island.
Should this policy come into force, it could be the silver bullet to blow away the problem that COVID-19 has caused to the tourism on Boracay. Obviously, there will have to be some health protocols remaining to help keep the island virus free, but the ease in enabling tourists to enter onto our shores once again, along with the hopeful lifting of bans on bars reopening, and lifting restrictions on swimming and other watersports, and possibly scrapping, or certainly amending, the curfew, will surely give hope to our long suffering businesses and get them to finally dispense with their “Closed” signs.
Let’s also hope that another ban that will fade away is that of the “no New Year firework displays”, then we can all look forward to a much-needed great Christmas and New Year.