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Government bans water activities but eyes Boracay expansion

The Duterte administration is prohibiting temporarily water activities in Boracay to check the island’s marine biodiversity and “to lengthen the beach and swimming area for tourists,” an Environment official said Friday.

Environment Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor told reporters officials were completing a “biodiversity assessment” to designate marine sanctuaries, and “regulate water sue zones” for water sports activities and swimming.

In related developments:

• Major airlines in the country on Friday reminded air travelers going to Boracay that only guests with confirmed reservations at any accredited establishments would be allowed to enter the newly rehabilitated island.

“We would like to remind guests booked for flights to Caticlan and Kalibo that they will be requested to show proof of confirmed hotel and bookings before entering Boracay island,” said the management of Cebu Pacific Air in its advisory.

The Philippine Airlines made the same public advisory, saying a pre-booking with a hotel was required as a prerequisite to enter Boracay. 

“The Department of Tourism will be implementing a No Booking / No Entry Policy and will be setting up a verification booth at the Caticlan Airport and the Kalibo International Airport,” the PAL stated. 

Passengers are advised to book their stay in the establishments that are compliant with the requirements of the Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 

CEB said, “to avoid any possible inconvenience, we strongly advise guests who are travelling or planning to go to Boracay Island starting October 26, 2018 to check if their chosen hotel or resort has been certified compliant and permitted to operate.”

It added, “further information regarding accredited establishments on Boracay can be found at facebook.com/DepartmentofTourism or @TourismPHL on Twitter.”

The airline recently donated plastic trash bins to be used in time for the reopening of Boracay.

The donation is in line with the CEB’s Juan Effect project aimed to encourage responsible travel among passengers, and empower everyone to change at least one everyday habit.  

Meanwhile, in anticipation of Boracay’s reopening on Oct. 26, PAL announced it was set to resume flight operations between Manila and Caticlan, Cebu and Caticlan, and Cebu and Kalibo on Oct. 28.

Local airlines supported the government when it announced early this year that it is shutting down Boracay for a six-month rehabilitation and become fully safe and environmentally friendly. 

Boracay market is served with nearly 40 daily flights. 

The island is particularly popular with Chinese and South Korean visitors, which are the largest source markets for the Philippines tourism industry. 

At the same time, the government has imposed a scheduling system for boats sailing to Boracay, particularly those servicing the Caticlan-Boracay route, according to Rigor.

Topics: Boracay , Sherwin Rigor , Cebu Pacific Air , Philippine Airlines , Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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