BORACAY ISLAND, AKLAN – Over 56 billion pesos of tourist spending is at stake during the imminent Boracay Island rehabilitation and restoration but the Department of Tourism (DOT) is now collaborating with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to address the issue.
DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo recognizes the possible effects including job displacements and economic dislocation of the the current upgrading of Boracay and is already looking at alternative means of livelihood and employment.
“We are aware of the situation of Boracay but we cannot just discount the thousands of employees and their families and the economic contribution of the island through its tourist receipts and job employment. We have to strike a balance between the environment and the economy,” Teo said.
Boracay Island (check list of hotels) welcomed over two million local and foreign tourists last year for a 16 percent growth from 2016. Boracay also employed the most for the Western Visayas region last year with 17,737 direct tourism employment accounting to 66 percent of the whole region.
DOT Regional Director for Western Visayas Atty. Helen Catalbas shared that most of the workers at the island are from other places like Cebu, Negros, Manila, and other provinces in Luzon.
The DOT Regional Office VI is already in coordination with other local government units in efforts to relocate employees that may be laid off during the Boracay rehabilitation.
“Those who will be affected can work with the demolition of illegal structures and the construction of the improved sewage system and road infrastructure,” Teo added.
Hotel and tourism establishments can for the meantime polish and update their facilities and manpower during the reported Boracay upgrading.
Also See: The Complete Boracay Travel Guide
DOT is also studying tax holidays and incentives for those business and employees affected. Skills development trainings and seminars for front liners and other tourism ambassadors are also being planned.
The DOT holds regular consultation meetings with tourism stakeholders including tour operators and travel agency associations in pacifying the effects to the domestic and international tourist market.
Meanwhile, DOT remains steadfast in its support to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in its pursue to solve the environment woes of the island and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in apprehension of those who violated and abused the law.
The tourism department is also gearing up to the launching of the ‘new’ Boracay after its renovation and upgrading.
“After the six-month timeline set by President Duterte, we look forward to introducing to the world the ‘new’ and improved Boracay,” Teo added.