While Boracay Island’s shoreline has been tranquil (locals can only swim from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a certain portion of the beach), the tourist destination’s roadside has been busy with the road widening projects, drainage installations, and renovations. CNN PHILIPPINES / JP TALAPIAN

ILOILO City – Once the popular tourist destination reopens this coming Oct. 26, an overnight stay in Boracay Island will likely cost you an average of P7,663, based on accommodation rates gathered by Panay News, for the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) initial 25-hotel list of “compliant” establishments.

The DOT released a bulletin on Sept. 1, listing 25 Boracay hotels – for a total of 2,063 accredited rooms – that it has deemed compliant with all the requirements set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to operate on the island. These more than two dozen establishments are set to be accredited by the DOT.

The bulletin comes as both tourists and establishments in Boracay count down to the late October reopening of the popular tourist destination – just a month and a few weeks away now.

Panay News computed the P7, 663 average, by gathering the lowest overnight stay rate of each of the listed hotels – by phone call, through their official website, or through third-party booking sites. Of the 25 “compliant” establishments, only four couldn’t be contacted through any of the means above.

‘HIGHER HOTEL RATES’

A manager at one of the 25 hotels listed by the DOT, while refusing to be identified, said they are mulling increasing their overnight hotel rates, given the now limited number of room accommodations on the island.

The same manager shares that they are now completely booked for the first few days after the scheduled Oct. 26 reopening, with bookings and reservation inquiries trickling in every day.

DOT Region 6 director Atty. Helen Catalbas recently warned tourists to stay only in resorts and hotels adhering to government rules and regulations, once the island destination opens its doors anew to visitors.

The 25-hotel bulletin is the first in what is expected to be weekly public advisories on compliant tourism establishments to guide tourists.

Only 71 of the 440 hotels and inns inspected in Boracay were fully-compliant so far, according to undersecretary Epimaco Densing III of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) during the Senate’s Aug. 20 hearing on Boracay’s rehabilitation.

There were 2,384 tourism establishments in the famous tourist destination.

Catalbas said hopefully between 3,000 to 5,000 rooms may be available to accommodate tourists when Boracay reopens after six months of closure for a massive cleanup.

Only fully compliant establishments would be allowed to operate.

“Advice namon nga dapat nga atendiron nila anay ang ila compliance kay karon budlayan man sila kun indi man sila ka-comply,” said Catalbas.

An accreditation from the DOT is the last requirement before business establishments can operate on the island.

From the data gathered by Panay News, currently the most budget-friendly “compliant” accommodation on the island is The Lazy Dog Bed & Breakfast along Bulabog Beach with its dorm-type option rooms at P1,803 per night. The most expensive on the list is the cliff-side Den Pasar Beach Resort in Balabag, Brgy. Bulabog with its luxury four-room villa costing P45,000 per overnight stay.

As of writing, the hotel with the most number of “compliant” rooms is Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay with 700 rooms, followed by Azalea Hotel & Residences (284), and Astoria Current (156).

FUTURE OF BORACAY

Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito Bengzon Jr. recently assured travellers of better visitor experiences in Boracay with the DOT’s projects already laid out for the coming months.

“For our part, we will make sure that the accommodation establishments comply with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)/ Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) requirements before they qualify for DOT accreditation. Manpower training programs will be extended to the accredited establishments so that the frontline services are much improved prior to the closing. And lastly, we will have to work on very intensive marketing promotions. So in our travel fairs, in our sales missions, Boracay will be showcased as a better destination for our markets,” he said.

A worldwide advertising campaign is set to be launched by the DOT in the following months, to be accompanied by strengthened promotions for various PH destinations, including the much-awaited reopening of the famous island.

This campaign is projected to entice more travellers to visit more destinations in addition to Boracay, as trainings and workshops for better sustainability practices are now being disseminated to industry players all over the country, guaranteed to provide better services to future clients.

“When you look at it overall, we really have to make sure that when we roll it out, when we relaunch Boracay, it would be a better destination, more environment-friendly, and it will be more secure and we have to make sure that, more important than anything else, we avoid the problems that led to its closure in the first place,” he added.

The Boracay bulletin can be accessed on DOT’s official website: www.tourism.gov.ph./PN

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