Aklan governor wants seniors, children to visit Boracay

The Aklan provincial government wants the Department of Tourism (DOT) to allow senior citizens and children to visit Boracay.

Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores in a press conference on Saturday, October 2, said letting the two groups enter the famous tourist destination would rev up the province's economy.

In June this year, the DOT allowed senior citizens and children to go to Boracay. It cancelled this in August, however, when COVID-19 cases in Western Visayas climbed due mainly to the virulent Delta variant.

"During those times, we were receiving at least 22 flights daily for tourists going to Boracay. Since Boracay was reopened to tourists last September 8, we are again seeing rising numbers of tourists going to Boracay," Miraflores said.

The Aklan provincial government was focusing its promotion of Boracay to domestic tourists, but required all visitors to have a negative RT-PCR test. The DOT earlier announced plans to open Boracay to international tourists before the year ends.

"If the DOT would support our plans it would already be a big boost to tourism. In our previous experience with tourists to Boracay, the lolo shoulders usually the Boracay travel to treat their grandchildren. Boracay is indeed a family tourist destination," Miraflores who recently announced his retirement from politics next year.

Last Monday, Miraflores signed several advisories easing COVID-19 restrictions in Boracay.

Among these advisories were includes easing of the curfew to 10 pm until 5 am. Gym operations are now allowed at 50% capacity, the same with dine-in service in restaurants.

Acting Malay Mayor Floribar Bautista, meanwhile, said that more than half of Boracay residents have been vaccinated, with 35%  fully vaccinated and 55%  partially vaccinated. In 2018, the Malay planning office said Boracay's 2017 population, scattered across three villages, was 46,829, up from the 32,267 2015 census figure. 

Bautista said the town planned to vaccinate 11,620 workers and has also started inoculating the island's general population.

"We are eyeing to attain herd immunity by November this year," said Bautista.

According to the Malay Tourism Office from September 3 to 8 this year, Boracay registered an overall 6, 702 tourists arrivals.

Of the said number, 4,614 tourists were from the National Capital Region.