The Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte approved a proposal Wednesday, April 4, to shut down Boracay Island, one of Asia's top beach destinations, for six months. The complete shutdown of the island was proposed after the president said that Boracay was turning into a "cesspool".
Duterte had earlier criticized hotel owners and resort staff for dumping sewage directly into the sea, which deteriorated environmental conditions on the island. However, the government has not revealed the rehabilitation plans yet, Washington Post reported.
The popular holiday hotspot would be closed starting from April 26. The Philippines tourism industry, which attracts millions of tourists will likely deal with a huge blow as the government estimates a loss of $384 million within the six months, reports Bloomberg.
"This is not about profit, it's about the political will to deal with years of neglect of the environment. We need to act swiftly to save the island and avert its further deterioration," Philippines tourism assistant secretary Frederick Alegre was quoted by the Washington Post.
The Boracay beach, a popular tourist destination on the island, is known for its sandy beaches, water sports and late night parties. Many tourists who had booked their flights to enjoy their summer vacation would be left disappointed as many airline companies are looking to cut down on the commercial flights.
"If you close one establishment but open another, tourists will still come. All establishments, whether compliant or not, will be closed. Everyone must sacrifice here." Philippine tourism minister, Wanda Teo told ANC news channel.
The popular holiday destination Boracay is also home to 17,000 locals who will bear the brunt of the shutdown as the ban would affect their livelihood. A similar decision has been taken in Thailand when Maya Bay in Phi Phi Leh island will be temporarily shut down for four months, starting from June this year.