By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—The six-month closure was worth it, after all.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Boracay island’s six-month closure and rehabilitation last year has helped catapult it to being voted as Asia’s best island by a luxury travel magazine.
“Boracay’s rehab is worth it. We are getting high-valued clients,” Puyat said Thursday on the sidelines of the launching of Iloilo City as a destination for meetings, incentives, conferences/conventions, and exhibitions (MICE).
“Based on social media, the hashtag for Boracay is generating good news,” Puyat added.
The resort island in Malay town, Aklan province re-emerged on the Reader’s Choice list of Condé Nast Traveler a year after welcoming back tourists.
READ MORE: Boracay named best island in Asia
It can be recalled that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the six-month closure of Boracay in 2018, even referring to the popular tourist destination as a “cesspool” due to a host of environmental problems.
But a lot has changed in the island since then, with Condé Nast describing Boracay in Western Philippines as “as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and made-for-Instagram sunsets.”
The magazine adds that “the aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.”
While Condé Nast’s citation has put Boracay back on the world tourism map, Puyat stressed that the country’s other island destinations should also be given due credit.
“We’re always happy, but Boracay is already popular and well-known. We also want to highlight other destinations. We have 7,641 islands,” Puyat added.
Also in Condé Nast’s list are Palawan and Cebu.