Boracay - the popular Philippine resort destination - will be closed for tourists effective April 26. That means there would be no Laboracay partying to kick of the summer for many young Filipinos.
After concerns were raised about long lingering problems regarding sewage and environmental concerns, the island has been in consideration for the closure to address them. According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation by three government agencies to shut the island down for six months.
The estimated consequences of the action for the island, which last year received around 2 million visitors, will affect the livelihoods and businesses on the island. According to the Boracay Foundation, it is estimated that around 36,000 workers will lose their jobs and the tourism sector could lose up to PHP 56 billion (USD $1 billion).
Travellers may look elsewhere to go within the region, such as neighboring Philippine destinations such as Cebu or Siargao, or to rival resort destinations in the region such as Bali or Phuket. As tourists have already begun cancelling their travel plans, we can expect changes and suspension of services by local and foreign airlines operating from Caticlan and Kalibo airports.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have both announced they would modify their schedules to both Caticlan and Kalibo airports.
Philippine Airlines will continue their flights between Kalibo and Caticlan, but will reduce its schedule. It will supsend its flights from Caticlan to Clark and Cebu. Cebu Pacific will also reduce their flights to the region, which will include the suspension of flights from Kalibo to Clark as well as to Seoul (Incheon). So far, Philippines Air Asia has not made any announcement on service changes to flights going to the area.
While efforts to build a better sewage system have not pushed through, the government's main concern has been a large amount of hotels, resorts, and inns who have ended up dumping waste into canals instead of building their own sewage and wastewater treatment facilities.
Boracay was named the best island resort by magazine publisher Conde Nast in 2016. It was ranked second out of 25 beaches in Asia and 24th in the world in TripAdvisor's 2018 Travellers' Choice Awards.
Update (1600H Singapore/Hong Kong Time):
In a press release, the Air Asia Group will reduce its schedule with one daily flight each to Kalibo and Caticlan from Manila. Flights from Caticlan to Cebu and Clark, Kalibo to Seoul, Busan, and Shanghai will be suspended.