Boracay Under New Rules and No Casinos

The island of Boracay is open to the public but not the same.

After Duterte’s announcement to close the island for a 6-month environmental cleanup, the island of Boracay is open to citizens of all nationalities as of October 26th, 2018. Before allowing entry to the island by the entire public, officials permitted a 10-day dry run period for local tourists to assess the island’s rehabilitation condition.

After, correcting over 800 environmental violations the island began permitting only 19,200 visitors at a time – a significant decrease from the number of visitors to the island during peak times which neared 40,000 individuals.

Boracay’s reopening contains many stipulations and conditions, there will no longer be beach parties, no more LaBoracay (a three-day Labour Day weekend beach party for tourists), bonfires, single-use plastics, drinking, or smoking in Boracay, as well as, a ban on vendors, building, and businesses within 98ft or 30m of the shoreline.

Numerous businesses were bulldozed to meet compliance and thousands of hotels and restaurants were closed for not meeting new requirements with only 160 tourism-related businesses permitted to reopen. The tourist island also banned all water sports except swimming and all three of its operating casinos.

PAGCOR stated to have permanently closed all of its licensed casino operators in Boracay as per instructions given by the Boracay Inter-Agency task force (BIATF) through a request letter.

The Philippine gambling regulator said one casino run by Alpha Allied Holding Ltd inside the Movenpick Resort & Spa did not comply with instructions to shut down operations during the island’s 6-month cleanup, while casinos in Crown Regency Resorts and Paradise Garden Resort did comply to the request to shut down during the environmental cleanup all three casinos faced permanent shut down.

One proposed Boracay casino by Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group will not see their project come to fruition due to PAGCOR’s revocation of Boracay casino licenses.

The Philippine Government has taken heavy precautions to enforce visitor limits by controlling the number of available hotel rooms on the island and sanitation requirements through repairing and improving Boracay’s sewage infrastructure.

Before the mandatory environmental cleanup ordered by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the 2,470-acre island faced issues such as direct sewage dumping into the ocean and three times the garbage generated per person on Boracay than in Manila. Officials expect full rehabilitation of the island done by next December.