Philippine holiday island to close for clear-up

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night heeded the recommendation by the interagency Boracay Task Force for a six-month closure of the beach destination, which has suffered from environmental woes.

The temporary closure will begin on April 26 to allow the massive rehabilitation of the island, including dismantling of illegal structures, and upgrading of sewage systems.

Even before a video that revealed foul-smelling black sewage flowing freely into the crystal blue waters of its white sand beaches went viral earlier this year, the fate of the Philippines' tropical Boracay island had already been sealed.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the island will be a "total closure" for tourism beginning April 26.

More than 2million tourists visited Boracay for its beaches and nightlife past year, generating about £760million in revenue.

One of the most popular vacation destinations in the Philippines will be temporarily closed to tourists.

Densing warned the local government officials of Malay in Aklan of possible cases if they issued local permits without clearance from the DENR.

The decision has prompted airlines to scale down their flights and hotels to prepare for cancellations of bookings.

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As much as P20 billion will be lost due to the six-month closure of Boracay Island. "We're a bit depressed right now in the industry", Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, told ABS-CBN.

Starting April 20, PAL will deploy additional flights on routes between Manila and Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod. "We fully support the government's intention to make Boracay fully safe and environmentally friendly".

"The impact of Boracay closure on our operation is nearly insignificant compared to its effect on our guests, especially those who have saved up their money to be able travel this summer, which is why our focus is on assisting them and providing them with flexible options so as not to disrupt their holiday plans", Comendador added.

Discovery World said it has started to refund customer deposits, rebooking them to future dates or to its resort on the island of Palawan.

Boracay employs 17,000 people, as well as 11,000 construction workers working on new projects.

The Boracay Foundation Inc., a business association on the island, had asked the government to shut down only those violating environmental laws.

Tourists pose for photos along a beach on Boracay island. But its appeal has been overshadowed lately by inadequate sewage treatment and pollution.

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