More tourists visit Boracay as restrictions eased | Inquirer News
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More tourists visit Boracay as restrictions eased

/ 04:40 AM October 18, 2021

WELCOME BACK The famed white sand beach of Boracay, in this photo taken on Oct. 16, awaits leisure travelers as more tourists are expected to visit the island after the provincial government of Aklan loosened community quarantine restrictions. —JACK JARILLA

ILOILO CITY—Tourist arrivals in Boracay are picking up again after community quarantine restrictions were loosened due to a slowdown in COVID-19 cases on the island resort.

Tourists going to Boracay from Oct. 1 to Oct. 10 reached 6,925, according to data from the tourism office of Malay town in Aklan province where the island is located.

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Seventy-four percent, or 5,125, were leisure travelers from Metro Manila. This was already more than the 6,702 tourists who visited the island in September.

The island and the rest of Aklan was under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest quarantine level, until Sept. 7, which prohibited leisure travel to the island.

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Tourists were allowed back starting Sept. 8 when Aklan was placed under general community quarantine but flights from Metro Manila only resumed on Sept. 15.

Tourist arrivals were still lower than the 35,108 visitors recorded in July, the highest during the pandemic.

With COVID-19 cases slowing down, the Aklan provincial government has gradually relaxed restrictions, especially on business and other economic activities, to help revive the economy devastated by the prolonged and recurring travel restrictions.

No more liquor ban

On Oct. 1, the provincial government lifted the liquor ban, which was among the appeals of business operators on the island.

Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores on Oct. 2 also allowed the resumption of indoor dining in restaurants up to 50 percent of capacity and full capacity for outdoor dining.

Meetings and conventions as well as social events, including weddings and baptisms, have also been allowed up to 30 percent of the seating capacity.

The COVID-19 vaccination drive on the island is also being aggressively implemented in line with the target of the Department of Tourism to inoculate 11,620 tourism workers aside from residents of the island.

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The prolonged lockdowns have forced many businesses on the island to close down. Owners of businesses that have remained open have said that they were struggling to maintain their staff due to the lack of tourists and with businesses allowed to operate on limited hours.

Boracay Island was closed to tourists in March last year as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. Tourists from Western Visayas were allowed on the island on June 16 and from the rest of the country on Oct. 1 last year. INQ

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TAGS: Aklan, Boracay, COVID-19, restrictions, Tourism, tourist arrivals
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