Tourists are doing such a number on Southeast Asia’s gorgeous islands that governments are being forced to literally shut them down and rehabilitate them.
First, Thailand made the decision to keep tourists out of Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island for four months, and now the Philippines government has ordered the temporarily closure of Boracay Island.
The island famous for its white sand and coral reef, will be closed off for six months in order to resolve a sewage problem that has turned its beaches into what leaders described as “cesspool”.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who recently permitted a casino operator to begin construction on a $500m beachfront casino on the island, said the destination needs to be cleaned, The New York Times reported.
As a result of the island’s closure, airlines have temporarily suspended flights to and from Boracay, including AirAsia, which said services will be cancelled until 26 October 2018.
The airline will instead increase services to other popular leisure destinations such as Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and Davao in the Philippines.
Affected guests will be able to either change their destination, move their flight dates, receive a credit account or request a full refund.
Meanwhile, Philippines Airlines said in an online notice that it will scale down operations to Caticlan and Kalibo airports for a six-month period and expand flights to other islands, including Manila and Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod.
Passengers will have the same options of rebooking, rerouting or receiving a refund with penalties and charges waived.
The airline’s boss said that it “fully supports” the government’s decision to make “Boracay fully safe and environmentally friendly”.
“Sustainable development is of critical concern, and we are one with the laudable goal to revert the island to a balanced eco-tourism paradise.”
Jaime J. Bautista, PAL President
“We seek the understanding of our passengers as your flag carrier and the aviation industry cooperate in this multi-sectoral endeavor.
“In the long-term, a safe and revitalized Boracay will benefit all stakeholders in the travel and tourism sectors, and the Filipino people as a whole.”
Were you or someone you know booked to visit Boracay Island over the next six months?
Share this story