The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the government-initiated environmental rehabilitation on Boracay Island is yielding positive results as it was voted best island in Asia for 2019 by readers of the Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
“This itty-bitty island (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and made-for-Instagram sunsets. Fold in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region,” Conde Nast Traveler described Boracay in its article published on October 7.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Thursday expressed her appreciation for the recognition.
“We have 7,641 islands, so syempre when they say one of our islands is the best, syempre masaya ka (of course, when they say that one of our islands is the best, you are happy),” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 ordered the six-month closure and rehabilitation of the Island, as it has become a “cesspool” due to environmental concerns. The Island was reopened to tourists in October last year.
“It’s (rehabilitation efforts) worth it because we are getting high-value clients,” she said, adding that social media posts of netizens revolve on good news about the Island.
“We are hoping that this will continue,” she said.
Among the Philippine islands included in the top five are Cebu and the Visayas islands, which both ranked second, and Palawan, which placed fourth. Penang in Malaysia placed third, and Bali in Indonesia got the fifth spot.
While Boracay island continues to draw worldwide attention, the tourism chief said her department is pushing to promote other tourist destinations in the country.
“Kilala na ang Boracay. We want sana na other tourist destinations makilala rin (Boracay is already famous. We also want other tourist destinations to be recognized),” Puyat said. (PNA)