Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’

Photo from Tumblr (HappyDabbles) via rappler.com

By Cynthia Drescher/cntraveler.com – Our readers love Boracay, an island in the Philippines that has the kind of powdery white beaches and see-your-feet-clear water that inspires island cliches. It topped our Readers’ Choice Awards list of best islands in the world in 2017. Unfortunately, the tiny stretch of sand—just under four square miles—is a victim of its own growing popularity. With 2.1 million tourists arriving in 2017 alone (spending more than $1 billion), Boracay now has to contend with environ­mental degradation, traffic congestion, insufficient solid waste management, illegal construction, property disputes, illegal fishing…to name a few.

In February, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called the island a “cesspool.” “I’ll give you six months,” he told Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. “Clean the goddamn thing.”

To future-proof Boracay’s natural beauty, the government has announced an unprecedented six-month closure of the island, set to begin next month and last through September, though an end date hasn’t yet been confirmed.

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