Boracay Island in the Philippines recently underwent a massive transformation. It was closed to tourists for six months in order to address several issues, such as improper sewage disposal and the need for overall clean-up. The closure cost billions of dollars, but the result is a cleaner, more relaxing beach with crystal-clear waters. Changes include a new airport, the requirement of hotel bookings before arrival, and restrictions on smoking and drinking in public. The nightlife scene has been diminished, and sustainability measures are being implemented. While these changes have impacted the local economy, Boracay now offers a preserved beauty for those seeking a tranquil beach getaway.


Boracay Island, located in the Philippines, underwent a six-month closure in response to non-compliance with regulations. The key issue that led to the closure was the improper disposal of sewage onto the beaches. This decision to close down one of the most popular and profitable islands in the Philippines was a business decision that cost nearly eight billion dollars. The island had become a cesspool, with businesses failing to comply with regulations such as sewage disposal. The closure aimed to clean up the island and address the environmental issues it faced.

Impact of the Closure

The closure of Boracay Island had significant financial implications. With no tourists allowed to visit the island for six months, businesses suffered greatly. The tourism industry, which was the main source of income for the island, came to a halt, resulting in a decrease in revenue for businesses and individuals. Local businesses, in particular, experienced a significant negative impact from the closure. Many had to close due to lack of permits, while others struggled to sustain their operations.

To cope with the closure, local people had to find temporary work in other sectors during the six-month period. This temporary work helped alleviate some of the financial struggles faced by the locals, but it was not a sustainable solution. The decrease in income caused by the closure had a lasting effect on the livelihoods of the residents of Boracay.

Changes on Boracay Island

The closure of Boracay Island led to several noticeable changes on the island. One of the most significant changes was the removal of chairs and vendors on the beach. This resulted in a cleaner and more relaxing atmosphere, with the beach free from eyesores and obstructions. Visitors could now enjoy the beautiful white sand and crystal clear waters without the distractions of vendors trying to sell their products.

Efforts were also made to reduce the use of single-use plastics on the island. This initiative aimed to protect the environment and preserve the pristine beauty of Boracay. Education campaigns and the promotion of alternative options, such as using refillable water bottles, were implemented to encourage both residents and tourists to adopt more sustainable practices.

The closure also had an impact on the island’s nightlife scene. With restrictions on smoking and drinking in public, the vibrant nightlife that Boracay was known for diminished. The focus shifted from a party destination to a more serene and sustainable beach retreat.

Expansion of Clean-up Efforts

The success of the clean-up efforts in Boracay has led to the possibility of more islands undergoing closure in the future. El Nido, another popular tourist destination in the Philippines, has been mentioned as a potential next location for a complete shutdown. The growth of tourism in El Nido, combined with the lack of infrastructure and environmental issues, makes it a candidate for similar clean-up measures.

To effectively protect the ecosystems in El Nido, it is crucial to have legislation and rules in place. Limiting the number of people entering sensitive areas like lagoons and viewpoints can help preserve the natural beauty of the region. By implementing these measures, it is possible to maintain a balance between tourism and environmental conservation.

Challenges for Businesses

The closure of Boracay Island resulted in the closure of many hotels and restaurants due to lack of permits. Businesses that were not compliant with regulations were unable to continue operating during the closure. This lack of permits, combined with the absence of tourists, created financial struggles for local businesses. The closure had a severe economic impact on the island, leaving many business owners and employees in a difficult position.

Current Developments

Currently, President Duterte is visiting Boracay, which has caused some disruptions to transportation on the island. Despite these disruptions, the reopening of Boracay presents an opportunity for positive change in the tourism industry. The changes implemented on the island have created a new and improved Boracay experience.

New Boracay Experience

The new Boracay experience is no longer focused on partygoers or budget travelers. It offers a preserved beach for relaxation and enjoyment. With the removal of chairs and vendors, the beach has become a serene and clean environment, allowing visitors to truly appreciate the natural beauty of Boracay. The crystal clear waters and the efforts to reduce single-use plastics contribute to the enhanced experience on the island.

Recommendation to Visit

Given the low levels of tourism following the closure and reopening of Boracay, it is highly recommended to visit now before the island becomes crowded again. This period presents an opportunity for travelers to experience the new Boracay and enjoy its pristine beauty without the usual crowds. By visiting during this time, tourists can support the local economy and witness firsthand the positive changes that have taken place.

Author’s Offer

As a bonus, the author offers a free Philippines travel guide. This guide provides recommendations for restaurants, hotels, viewpoints, and secret places for visitors to explore and enjoy during their trip to the Philippines. It serves as a helpful resource for travelers looking to make the most of their visit to Boracay and other destinations in the Philippines.