‘Love Boracay’ drive shifts spotlight to watersports 

Jun Aguirre

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‘Love Boracay’ drive shifts spotlight to watersports 

The Boracay Sand Castle Makers Association showcases their sandcastle-making skills as part of the Love Boracay 2024 festival.

Boracay Sand Castle Makers Association

The Malay town government works to establish Boracay as the beach sports capital of the Philippines and a major international windsurfing destination

AKLAN, Philippines – Shifting the spotlight from beach parties, Malay town’s “Love Boracay” campaign is now focusing on watersports events as the local government moves to turn the world-renowned island into the country’s water sports and windsurfing capital.

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista announced on Wednesday, April 24, that the town is preparing for at least six international and local competitions, encompassing four watersports, until May 1.

The four sea sports events under the Love Boracay campaign are the International Dragon Boat Competition, Ultimate Beach Frisbee Tournament, Boracay International Beach Volleyball, and the Beach Tennis Open Tournament.

Two more events, sandcastle-making, and the Paraw Regatta, a traditional sailing event featuring colorful sailboats racing against each other, will also take place during this period.

The annual celebration, originally referred to as “Laboracay,” was the epicenter of parties on the resort island. However, it was suspended in 2018 after then-president Rodrigo Duterte ordered the island closed for six months for rehabilitation. The campaign then resumed under a new brand, “Love Boracay,” with the aim of promoting environmental conservation among tourists and residents.

Bautista said the town government has started work to establish Boracay as the beach sports capital of the Philippines and a major international windsurfing destination.

According to the Malay Tourism Office, there are approximately 500 windsurfing activities by tourists daily in Boracay.

Malay Councilor Datu Sumndad, chairman of the town council’s committee on sports, said they anticipate around 10,000 tourists to visit Boracay, including 2,000 participants in the international dragon boat competition alone this weekend alone.

Boracay’s annual dragon boat race, which commenced in 2006 and was suspended in 2018, is being revived this year.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has advised the local government to limit the number of tourists in Boracay to 8,452 a day, an increase from the previous 6,405 daily visitors ceiling after the 2018 shutdown, to ensure the island’s environmental sustainability. –Rappler.com

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