Philippines to open Boracay island resort to local tourists


Boracay, famous for its powdery white sand, shallow azure water and spectacular sunsets, was shut down when the government imposed a lockdown in mid-March to stem the spread of the virus. - AFP

MANILA (Xinhua): The world-famous Boracay island resort in the central Philippines will start accepting local tourists on Oct 1, the Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Wednesday (Sept 23).

However, the DOT said that only tourists who tested negative from Covid-19 and living in the provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) are going to be allowed into the island.

The Philippines is still under varying degrees of lockdown restrictions since mid-March.

"The reopening of Boracay to new market sources signals a gathering momentum for domestic tourism all over the country," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, adding that health and safety remain a priority as the island gradually welcomes tourists.

She said several safety measures are being put in place to avoid community transmission, including a swab test before travel.

A tourist must test negative 48 to 72 hours before travelling to Boracay, she added.

"Travellers will be advised to go on a strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island," Puyat said.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said visitors must have pre-arranged reservations. "Once they set foot on the island, they must follow the health and safety guidelines developed by the Department of Tourism," he said.

The popular resort, famous for powdery white sand, shallow azure water, and spectacular sunsets, was shut down when the government imposed a lockdown in mid-March to stem the spread of the virus.

About two million tourists flock to Boracay every year to enjoy the island's powdery white sand and calm blue waters.

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