BORACAY Island will further open its doors to more local tourists on Oct. 1, thus signaling the continued resurgence of domestic tourism nationwide.

This development came as a result of a special meeting convened by the principals of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF) led by its chairperson Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and co-vice chairpersons, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, with the Province of Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores on Sept. 22.

“The reopening of Boracay to new market sources signals a gathering momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. We are pleased that the BIATF and the local government units of the Province of Aklan and Municipality of Malay have agreed to put health and safety as the priority as we carefully and safely welcome more guests to the island,” Puyat said.

Test before travel

During the meeting, BIATF leaders approved an earlier request of the Aklan Province to expand Boracay’s reopening to domestic travelers in addition to tourists from Western Visayas who have already been permitted to visit the island since June 16.

“Targeting a safe and calibrated resumption of tourism business and operations, several measures have been prescribed by the Task Force, which include a Test Before Travel requiring a negative RT-PCR result 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay. Also, travelers will be advised to go on a strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island,” Puyat stressed.

The Test Before Travel regulation will allow visitors from destinations under a general community quarantine classification to visit the island. Age restriction is likewise relaxed permitting travelers below 21 and above 60 years old with no comorbidity.

Another key agreement advises airlines to use the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, Municipality of Malay as the only airport of entry in moving tourists to the island.

Meanwhile, minimum health and safety guidelines already in place, and in accordance with Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and national government mandates, will be subjected to continued enhancement. The Province of Aklan had earlier rolled out stringent protocols in receiving guests from Western Visayas as well as strict guidelines in handling Covid-19 related emergencies.

Covid-19 laboratory

A Covid-19 Laboratory is now operational at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan, which forms a part of the network of facilities and services needed in a safe environment for host communities, business stakeholders and tourists.

Since the island’s reopening to travelers from Western Visayas last June 16, the DOT has already issued certificates of authority to operate to 199 hotels and resorts representing 4,416 rooms. (PR)