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Spare law-abiding Boracay resorts from shutdown, says travel group

Businesses that have not made any violations in Boracay should be spared from a proposed shutdown of the island, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) has  asserted.

A shutdown would risk ruining the reputation of all resorts in the island, even the law-abiding ones, PTAA President Marlene Dado Jante warned in a statement on Tuesday.

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This developed 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, of Tourism, and of Interior and Local Government.

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Locals, businesses, and even tourists voiced their opposition to this proposal.

“Shutting down the entire island would send the wrong message.  Our members have gone to great lengths to protect their reputation all these years. If Boracay is closed, we are telling the world that all these resorts have constantly violated government laws,” Jante said.

Jante said they have 20 member resorts on Boracay, all of them compliant with the law.

Saying she had recently visited these resorts, she said she had also seen the required documents needed for their business operations.

“What was clear from our visit is that our members have been strictly adhering to the law.  This makes our case against a complete shutdown of the island even stronger.  We have always adhered to the fact that those with no violations should be allowed to continue operating,” Jante said.

The group said most of its members on Boracay have been in business for around a decade, even when the island was just starting to attract attention as one of the best beaches in the world.

The 20-member resorts group has a combined room capacity of 3,139. Some members are planning or in the middle of expanding their room capacity as well.

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business group, has recently voiced a similar concern.

Citing the economic cost of a shut down, PCCI said the government should consider doing the rehabilitation in phases instead.

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TAGS: Boracay, environmental concerns, Marlene Dado Jante, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Travel Agencies Association, shut down
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