Boracay is a small four mile island, but it has won over every sort of domestic and international traveler to the Philippines in recent year because of its pristine white sand, turquoise waters and laid back vibe. It serves as a thinking point for us in terms of sustainable travel and good trip planning.
A recent decision by the Philippine government to close the island down to tourists for six months has caused a quick panic for those with upcoming reservations and while such anomalies aren’t completely unheard of, they remind us that traveling always has its unforeseen variables that can turn a trip into something completely unexpected.
The ban affects only tourists and it is set to be put in place April 26th 2018. The end date is not fixed, but it is said to be September while the island’s government has been given orders to crack down on the pollution, uncontrolled expansion, overfishing and general unsustainable practices. This is certainly an inconvenience to travelers and local businesses alike. The island already does over 1 billion dollars in revenue annually, so six months will be a real blow to the economy.
The alternative however that the island would continually lose appeal and its ecosystem and everything that makes it beautiful collapse would be far more devastating. There are several good take aways here that we appreciate on this topic as travelers.
First: Hotels, Resorts, Infrastructure and Goverments best serve a destination when their aim is sustainable and protective growth. This is different for every locale, but the risk and rewards of expansion should be balanced.
Secondly: As travelers we can have great expectations for any of our trips, however the circumstances beyond our control can come from literally anywhere to change or cancel a trip. So it is wise to have some backup plans, insurance, or work with companies that can issue some refundable items. We try to work with such ideas in our travel advising to plan for all contingencies.