Come October 1, tourists coming from general community quarantine (GCQ) areas will now be able to travel to Boracay for leisure, but they should have first a negative RT-PCR test 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to the world-famous beach, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

This development came as a result of a special meeting convened by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) led by its chairperson Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and co-vice chairpersons, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Puyat with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores on September 22.

Puyat said the reopening to “new market sources” of Boracay, which at the moment is open only to visitors from the Western Visayas region, will signal the gathering of momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. “We are pleased that the BIATF and the LGUs of the Province of Aklan and Municipality of Malay have agreed to put health and safety as the priority as we carefully and safely welcome more guests to the island,” Puyat said.

“Targeting a safe and calibrated resumption of tourism business and operations, several measures have been prescribed by the task force, which include a test before travel requiring a negative RT-PCR result 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay. Also, travelers will be advised to go on a strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island,” Puyat stressed.

The test before travel regulation will allow visitors from destinations under a GCQ classification to visit the island. Age restriction is likewise relaxed permitting travelers below 21 and above 60 years old with no comorbidity.

Airlines bound for Boracay will also use the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, Municipality of Malay, as the only airport of entry in moving tourists to the island.

The minimum health and safety guidelines already in place in the island will also be subjected to further enhancement. The Province of Aklan had earlier rolled out stringent protocols in receiving guests from Western Visayas, as well as strict guidelines in handling COVID-19 related emergencies.

A COVID-19 laboratory is now operational at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan, which forms part of the network of facilities and services needed in a safe environment for host communities, business stakeholders, and tourists.

“In fact, the DOT had earlier coordinated with the Filinvest Corporate City Foundation Inc. for its donation of an RT-PCR machine to the Province of Aklan. Similarly, we worked with the Tulong Kapatid, the social responsibility consortium of the MVP Group of Companies, for several projects to include the donation of medical equipment and extension of training that will level up the Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital in Boracay from an infirmary to a level 1 trauma hospital,” Puyat added.

Since June, the DOT has already issued Certificates of Authority to Operate (CAO) to 199 hotels and resorts in Boracay.