By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA -- The government wants the rehabilitated Boracay to be known as a “peaceful” and “sustainable” tourist site, deviating from its usual party island image, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Wednesday.
“Definitely it won’t be like a really party place anymore, it will be more,” the Tourism chief said in an ANC interview, adding that the government wants Boracay “as it is and more peaceful.” “We want to promote sustainable tourism,” she stressed.
Despite Boracay’s temporary closure, Romulo-Puyat is optimistic the upward trend of tourist arrivals in the Philippines would continue. She noted that the closure had become a “blessing in disguise” since visitors were diverted to other destinations.
She said tourist arrivals in June this year increased by 11.35 percent.
“That was a surprise for me because I thought that it would dip because of the closure of Boracay,” she said.
“Now, the tourists know that aside from Boracay we have all these other beautiful beaches in the country,” she added.
The interagency group, composed of the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Tourism, are eyeing to cap the number of tourists entering the island.
When asked if more resorts will be built in Boracay, Romulo-Puyat said she does not see the need to have more, but the matter will be discussed with DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and DILG Office-in-Charge Eduardo Año.
“As it is, there are already enough resorts. With the carrying capacity, we will be limiting the number of tourists entering so it doesn’t really make sense to put up more resorts,” she added. PNA