Don't make reservations in Boracay yet, DENR advises public

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — Booking a flight to Boracay for its re-opening this October? Hold your horses.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday advised the public to wait for the list of compliant and accredited establishments that will be allowed to operate in the island before making reservations.

This, as an inter-agency task force is set to conduct a dry-run before the scheduled re-opening on October 26 to assess Boracay's capacity and identify businesses that will be permitted to operate.

"Since the [Department of Tourism] will have the final approval [of] the requirements, we call on the public to wait for the announcement on which compliant and accredited establishments will be initially allowed to operate by October 26 before they proceed with their reservations," Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a press conference.

During the soft opening, which will run from October 16 to 25, a limited number of local tourists will be allowed in Boracay, but Cimatu said those from Aklan will be prioritized.

"The dry run will allow us to assess what else needs to be done before Boracay is opened to domestic and foreign tourists," he said.

Once re-opened, the Secretary said guests will no longer be allowed to hold parties along the beaches of the island.

"People can still party within establishments, but not on the beach," he said, adding that they are also looking for safer alternatives to fire dancing.

Boracay's capacity

Citing a study by the DENR and University of the Philippines-Los Banos, Cimatu said Boracay in the past had accommodated visitors beyond its limit.

"The study reveals that the carrying capacity of the island have been breached, leading to the generation of too much waste and the deterioration of water quality, among others. The recreational areas, such as the beach and swimming areas, can only accommodate so much number of persons on a daily basis," he said.

He added that the number of hotel rooms in Boracay have exceeded its capacity based on the study.

"Also with existing numbers of of hotel rooms and establishments it was indicated that there is exceedance in the number of rooms vis a vis the island's capacity," he said.