But how you may be wondering? The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that all tourism workers and residents of Boracay will soon be fully vaccinated, “which means that as early as November, fully vaccinated individuals may visit the world-renowned island without having to undergo COVID-19 testing.”
Boracay has long been regarded as the country’s jewel in tourism, attracting the lion’s share of local and international travelers across the nation. In 2019, it received 2 million visitors. A year after, the island was hit by the pandemic, getting only 334,455 visitors.
To put things into perspective, the Philippines wasn’t the only country that was whose tourism-reliant islands have suffered millions or billions of dollars in losses due to lockdown measures. The Indonesian island of Bali incurred a lot of losses amid the pandemic as well.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said her optimism on the revival of tourism on the island was “boosted by the commitment of Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores to accept visitors with proof of full vaccination—in lieu of a negative RT-PCR test result—once the island reaches 100% vaccination rate of its residents.”
On the flip side, Boracay is set to vaccinate its entire eligible population of 24,451 by the end of October, which would make it the first destination in the Philippines to achieve 100% inoculation. The island was also the first tourist destination to receive vaccines against COVID-19 earlier this year.
Will other popular tourist destinations follow suit? Other top destinations in the Philippines such as El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Bohol, and Siargao have yet to announce plans to lift the RT-PCR testing requirement for fully vaccinated visitors. Visitors must present a negative test result for now.
Art Daniella Sison