Major changes expected on Boracay's reopening

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — Visitors can expect an entirely new Boracay when the island reopens on October 26.

The changes will happen long before visitors get to the tourist spot, as authorities are set to enforce a policy that tourists must have booked a room at a government-accredited hotel before they are granted access to the island.

So far, 68 hotels have been vetted as fully-compliant with environmental laws.

All other hotels who haven't conformed – even the bigger ones – will remain closed.

Department of Environment and Natural Rersources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said, "Gawin po nating pantay-pantay ito, sumunod tayo sa batas. Kung sakali hindi tayo susunod, mas maganda siguro wag na rin tayo magbukas."

[Translation: Let's level the playing field and follow the rules. If you can't abide by them, it would be better for you to stay closed.]

A proposal for airlines to check whether or not passengers are booked in accredited hotels has also been pitched.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat likened the process to getting a visa.

"Lets say, ano, tour operator. Mag che-check in, parang visa, iche-check nila are you booked in any of these hotels. Kung hindi, they cannot fly out anymore," she said.

[Translation: Let's say, a tour operator. When visitors check in, like a visa, they will check whether you're booked in any of these hotels. If not, they cannot fly out anymore.]

Officials have said non-compliant hotels who accept guests will be shut down, and guests can ask for their money back.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said they would assist guests in filing charges should they wish to do so.

Activities on the island will also go through a change.

For one, there will be less water sports, and no more beach beds, chairs and umbrellas.

Antiporda said there would be designated areas for water sports.

There will also be less sand castles, and fire dancers will have to use LED lights instead of live fire.

Authorities are also considering to ban parties on the white beach, and moving these to Bulabog, which, incidentally, was once tagged as the island's cesspool.

Antiporda said, "Well, live bands, you can do it inside the hotel, you can do it inside bars or clubs, but not in the beach front."

Despite these changes, business owners are still looking forward to the October 26 reopening and welcoming tourists back to the island.

But the rule of thumb remains to sustain the accomplishment made in the six-month rehabilitation period.

The DENR is deputizing workers of business establishments to make citizen's arrests against those who litter along the beach.

After a citizen's arrest is made, the offender will be turned over to the police, who will decide what legal action will be taken.

This was the government's response after photos showed garbage along the beachfront on the first day of the dry run.