After the Philippine government closed the island of Boracay in April to clean up extensive environmental damage caused by years of unrestricted tourism, the popular vacation island started to welcome visitors once again on Friday, October 26, 2018. But there are plenty of new rules to follow.

In addition to banning casinos on the island, drinking and smoking on the beach is now prohibited in order to curtail the amount of partying for which Boracay used to be known.

Most of the six-month period was used to clean up the island’s white sand beaches and repave many of the roads. A new 100-foot buffer zone was also created between the waterline and the businesses on the island, which meant many buildings had to be bulldozed so that they no longer encroach upon the beaches.

Boracay in February 2018, before the island closed for six months.
Boracay’s hotels and restaurants also had to update their sewage systems after the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, called the island a “cesspool” earlier in 2018 when many businesses were found to be releasing raw sewage directly into the ocean.

While biologists finish their assessment of how the water quality and marine life have rebounded during the island’s closure, water sports off the coast of Boracay will also be banned for the foreseeable future.

To prevent tourism from damaging the local environment again, the number of tourist arrivals has also been strictly limited to roughly 6,000 people each day. The island’s total capacity will be restricted to just 19,000 visitors at any given time, about half the number that swamped the island at its peak periods in the past.

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