Western Visayas tourists can visit Boracay starting June 16

Western Visayas tourists may now go to Boracay Island starting Tuesday, June 16.

The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, the body that governs the rehabilitation of the island, approved the resolution passed by the Aklan provincial government.

"The task force approved the recommendation of the LGU (local government unit) for the opening of boracay for tourism effective June 16 this year. That will only be applicable for tourists coming from the Western Visayas," Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Thursday, June 11, in a joint briefing with the tourism department.

Boracay Island, which is in Malay, Aklan, has been under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since June 1.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said that all MGCQ rules "will apply," as activities are set to resume in the island.

Under the guidelines of the IATF on managing emerging infectious disease (IATF-MEID), health protocols such as mask-wearing and physical distancing must still be enforced under MGCQ.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that affected residents may apply for the cash aid program of the government.

Hotels, reeling from the effect of the lockdown, may apply for the tax holiday program of the Board of Investments, Puyat said on Thursday.

The BOI has also launched a "COVID-19 proofing program," where hotels may apply for tax perks when upgrading facilities to install thermal scanners, hygiene gates, mobile check-in systems, and no-contact door lock systems, among others.

In April 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay Island for rehabilitation purposes. It reopened 6 months later, in October 2018.

Boracay was closed down again in March 2020, but this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aklan province has lost some P11.33 billion in tourism receipts as of May because of quarantine restrictions. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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