Boracay has set a new marking direction as the island strives to recover from the impact of the pandemic, with the aim of also making the island a family-oriented destination.
Acting Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista, in sharing the island’s roadmap during the virtual Visayas Area Business Conference of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on Friday, said the island has shifted from its “The 24/7 Island” brand.
“From being a party island before, we change(d) it to not only for party-goers but at the same time for Boracay as a family tourist destination,” he said.
It was crafted along with the preparation of the safety guidelines and protocols for the reopening of Boracay by the Public-Private Alliance for Boracay (PPAB), a technical working group composed of Boracay stakeholders and local government units (LGUs) headed by the provincial government of Aklan.
Bautista said the goal of the island is to have 6,000 tourists daily. From January to July 25 this year, Boracay has recorded a total of 105,057 guests or an average of 510 per day.
Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Boracay was among the first destinations in the country to reopen and use a pre-registration system for tourists. It is also the first place to accept travelers of all ages.
Currently, Boracay, which is open to domestic tourists, continues to require a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, Puyat said.
“The continually evolving situation with Covid-19 and the new variants arising entails that community quarantines might continue to be part of the strategy to curb transmission while allowing the economy to run again,” she said during the virtual conference.
She added that the Department of Tourism (DOT) continues to coordinate with LGUs and frequently engages tourism stakeholders as part of the roadmap for tourism.
Apart from providing capital loans with zero interest to tourism businesses from funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2), the DOT also makes sure that front-liners in the island are covered by the vaccination program.
Puyat noted that 60 percent of the island’s 5,000 tourism workforce have received their first dose.
“Another 3,000 vaccines are on their way to jab the remaining active tourism workforce in Boracay and the other sectors,” she said.
The department is working for the reopening of business by promoting domestic events, such as the Boracay Bike Tour, Boracay Food Crawl, and Boracay Wellness Workation.
Puyat said 20 partners have been working with their regional office for the “workation” (work and vacation) setup, where establishments provide stable Internet connection and space to enable their guests to stay comfortable and without a need for repeat swab or saliva RT-PCR tests.
“Working from the paradise or working from the beach is also touted as promoting mental health and wellness because of the ability to balance work and relaxation combined with the healing properties of being in the outdoors and nature,” she said.
Eleven establishments on the island have been issued the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) safe travel stamp certificate and Boracay has been given a WTTC safe travel stamp under the destination category by the DOT.
“We foresee travel bubbles with countries like South Korea, which are few of Boracay’s largest markets. This will be subject to international travel restrictions and the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) but the dream of international travel bubbles is now closer than ever,” she added.
Another plan is to organize a Boracay MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibits) Association to target a market.