Boracay, an island in the Philippines that was closed for rehabilitation in April 2018, is to reopen on 26 October.
The popular tourist destination was shut to visitors after President Duterte visited the island and was reportedly outraged by “environmental violations” that had left the island a “cesspool”.
After an initial six-month clean up, government officials have confirmed Boracay will have a “soft opening”, with only certain hotels allowed to operate, offering around 5,000 beds in total.
However, it will be a different type of holiday experience after the relaunch. “No more party island 24/7 and loud music,” said secretary of the department of tourism, Berna Romulo-Puyat. “No smoking and drinking by the beach and as a matter of policy, only environment friendly and safety compliant facilities will be allowed to operate on the island.”
The aim is to make the island, which previously attracted two million visitors a year more appealing to families and couples, rather than hard partiers.
Rebranding as “a haven for health wellness, soft adventure and authentic Filipino cuisine”, Boracay still has a way to go before its full rehab is complete.
“Six months is not enough to try to bring back the natural splendour of Boracay, regarded by many as one of the best beach destinations in the world,” said Romulo-Puyat.
There are three phases to the plan – phase one ends on 26 October, phase two will follow on immediately, and phase three is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
Romulo-Puyat added: “It’s a long and arduous process, but if there is one thing we are going to guarantee our trade partners and our visitors, you will all surely experience a ‘better Boracay’”.