Boracay shutdown bucked
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said that the government should not shut down Boracay, but instead rehabilitate the popular tourism spot in phases.
In a statement on Monday, the country’s biggest business chamber voiced its concern over the government’s plan to shut down the island for a maximum of one year, warning of the negative impact on the economy.
This develops days after three government agencies jointly recommended to President Duterte that Boracay Island be closed as a tourist destination for a maximum of a year, citing the need to address environmental concerns.
These government agencies are the departments of environment and natural resources, tourism, and interior and local government. Residents, businesses and even tourists have already voiced their opposition to the proposal.
PCCI said that it supported government efforts to clean up major tourism spots such as Boracay, noting that this was necessary for long-term sustainability.
“However, PCCI is concerned with the government’s plan to shut down the island for one year as this will negatively impact on the country’s economy,” the chamber said.
According to PCCI, the tourism industry was the third-biggest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 20 percent of the industry’s total income was sourced from Boracay.
PCCI director for tourism Samie Lim said that there should not be a complete shut down of the island. Instead, the government should do it “one station at a time.”
“Phasing is important so we are able to protect the interest of all parties concerned, especially the local residents whose incomes are dependent on Boracay’s economic activity,” Lim said.
PCCI said that the proposal would also impact the Philippines as a whole because the island was the most prominent beach and leisure destination and included in the majority of tour packages sold overseas.
PCCI president Ma. Alegria Sibal-Limjoco said that she would call on the Cabinet secretaries heading the three departments to discuss the planned rehabilitation of the island.
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