The impact of the COVID - 19 pandemic on tourism can 't be understated. Many travel destinations in the Philippines have been closed off since March 2020 because of strict quarantine protocols including social distancing directives.
In the first months of community quarantine, tourism destinations that were typically bustling have turned into ghost towns.Hotels, inns, and other accommodations were almost empty.Staycation became the norm.
The pandemic has battered businesses and employment everywhere, forcing the government to immediately devise plans to somehow revive economic activity.Accordingly, the government allowed some destinations to reopen in recent weeks for travel to boost the local economy.
On June 26, Boracay was reopened to tourists in Western Visayas. Subsequently, the world - acclaimed beach destination is slowly jumpstarting its economy while imposing COVID - 19 health guidelines.
Is it possible to travel safely during the pandemic ? Yes, as long as you follow safety and health protocols. Check out these tips on how to plan for your next trip to Boracay.
As of this writing, Boracay is only accommodating tourists from Western Visayas. The local government may further relax restrictions based on public health situations. If you are from the region, this may be a good time to have a much-needed R&R.
The pandemic is putting a strain on mental health that doctors are strongly recommending relaxation activities. Take a dip in Boracay's cool waters or simply stroll along the shore. Just always follow social distancing guidelines.
According to the CDC, social distancing or physpical distancing is staying at least six feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoors and outdoors. Social distancing is practiced with the following preventive actions:
proper wearing of face masks,
avoiding touching your face with unsanitized or unwashed hands, and
frequent washing of your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Recently, the government has also mandated the wearing of face shields (on top of face masks) when using public transportation. This is additional protection against exposure to COVID-19-infected droplets.
Since Boracay is limiting the influx of tourists (by accommodating Western Visayas visitors for now), it is easier to practice social distancing. Nevertheless, avoid crowded public spaces when you are on the island.
You may travel to Boracay via Kalibo International Airport. Starting July 1, the Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and Air Asia may operate two flights per week. From Kalibo, you will need to travel by land to Caticlan Jetty and ferry to Boracay. Here are some tips on how to safely travel via public transportation:
Book your seat or buy your tickets in advance. This will limit your time in the airport or terminal public area.
Stay out of crowded places or maintain a 6-feet distance from other people.
Skip a row of seats between yourself and other riders, though public transport operators are mandated to mark seats to ensure physical distancing is observed inside the carrier.
Wear your face mask and face shield at all times.
Eat and drink before traveling to avoid instances when you will need to take off your face shield and face mask.
Avoid touching free water bottles, magazines, or others that are provided for free to riders.
Avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by other riders or drivers. If it is unavoidable to touch door frames, handles, and windows, make sure you sanitize your hands right away.
Boats are the only mode of transportation from Caticlan Jetty to Boracay. Make sure the boat you are taking is not overcrowded. Sanitize your hands after alighting the boat.
Sanitize your hands with disinfectant (containing at least 70% alcohol) after you leave the airport, terminal, or stop.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you arrive in your hotel or accommodation.
Look for social distancing instructions provided by transit authorities and follow these faithfully.
Make sure that you book your flights in advance to avoid inconveniences. It is better if you can arrange a private car or van to take you to Caticlan Jetty.
It is also highly advisable that you reserve your accommodation before flying to Boracay. This is for your convenience and safety against possible infection. The less time you spend in crowded spaces (such as tourism helpdesks), the better.
Going to Boracay these days offers an experience like no other. Without the usual crowds and noise, you will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of this beach destination. Here are some tips for a safe vacation on the island:
Cars are not allowed on the island so you have to walk around or hire a motorized or electric trike. When going out, make sure you wear your face mask. A face shield provides an additional layer of protection even if you are not taking public transport.
You can rent a bike to move around. Businesses renting out bikes are mandated to clean and disinfect surfaces such as the handles before use. You may do the disinfection if it has not been done yet.
Use baby wipes (with alcohol) to clean and disinfect surfaces of parking meters or pay stations. You may also sanitize your hands right away if you touch public services.
Avoid crowded and narrow routes where it might be difficult to observe physical distancing between yourself and other cyclists or pedestrians.
Stay as far to your right or cross the street when you see another cyclist moving towards you to maintain physical distancing.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay inside your hotel and follow protocols set by the hotel administration. Signs and symptoms of the infection include:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
The list of symptoms is not all-inclusive. Stay in the loop of developments from the government and international health agencies about COVID-19.
Choose an accommodation that complies with COVID-19 safety and health guidelines. It is essential that your room is well-sanitized at all times.
Your hotel should also ensure the cleanliness of common areas such as the lobby and elevators. In the event of a suspected COVID-19 case, your hotel should also have protocols in coordination with local health authorities.
If you want to travel to Boracay while staying safe, go ahead and book a room at Alta Vista de Boracay to soak up the sun and enjoy the beach without worrying if your accommodation is safe.
See you there!