By Tara Yap
BORACAY ISLAND — The tourist arrivals for the Friday reopening of this world-renowned resort island of Boracay was below the limit set by the government, which is pegged at 6,405 tourists per day.
Niven Maquirang, port administrator both in Boracay Island and mainland town of Malay in Aklan province, told The Manila Bulletin Saturday that there were only 3,068 tourists when it reopened on October 26.
For the Department of Tourism (DOT), the figure is understandable as work to curb the environmental degradation of the country’s most popular destination is still underway.
“People have managed their expectations. The rehabilitation work is an ongoing process,” noted lawyer Helen Catalbas, DOT regional director for Western Visayas.
“As more work will be completed, tourist arrivals will increase proportionately. As long as it is within the daily limit,” Catalbas told The Manila Bulletin.
While only 6,405 tourists are allowed to enter Boracay per day, the study commissioned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) found that 19,000 tourists are ideal on any given day.
That is based on the estimate that the 6,405 tourists who enter Boracay per day will stay for three days.
Of the 3,068 tourists that arrived Friday, port data showed that 2,562 tourists had bookings in hotels and resorts, while 155 visitors stayed with Boracay residents.
Port data also showed there were also another 351 day visitors. But The Manila Bulletin observed that there may be more than 351 day visitors due to the influx of government officials and other guests for Boracay’s ceremonial reopening.
Meanwhile, DOT Undersecretary Art Boncato Jr. strongly urged those who want to visit Boracay to book with establishments that have been cleared by the government.