DOT chief says can't bar Boracay-bound tourists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2017 09:28 PM

Photo by Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The tourism secretary said on Friday government can only encourage tourists to change their itinerary, but not restrict them from visiting popular places such as Boracay. 

"We cannot restrict tourists going to Boracay. It is their choice to travel to their preferred destination," said Secretary Wanda Teo on Friday.

Some experts and environmental planners recently urged government to restrict the volume of Boracay-bound tourists in a bid to protect the island paradise from overpopulation, water pollution, and having too much trash. 

What the government can do, Teo said, is to encourage tourists to visit other spots such as Siquijor, instead of trooping to Boracay, which has been famous around the world for years for its powdery white sand and burgeoning tourism industry.

The DOT can also coordinate with the Boracay local government and Department of Environmental Resources to address the problem of waste disposal, Teo said.

However, a group of environmental planners said it might be best to set a limit as soon as possible, because the quality of water in Boracay continues to worsen.

If left unaddressed, Boracay can become a "sad place" in the near future, with dated facilities and a less than pristine beach, they said.