BORACAY, Philippines – Tourists are spending their final hours on Boracay, enjoying the Philippine island’s famed white-sand beaches before it closes for up to six months to recover from overcrowding and development.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had described the waters off Boracay as a ‘cesspool’ before ordering the closure. But on Wednesday, one Australian visitor says Boracay was one of the cleanest beaches he’s seen, regardless of the sewage problem that’s been reported.
The government says more than 2 million tourists visited Boracay last year to enjoy its powdery beaches, spectacular sunsets and festive nightlife, generating about 56 billion pesos ($1 billion) in revenue. But the influx of tourists, neglected infrastructure and growth of resort establishments and poor settlements have threatened to turn Boracay into a “dead island” in less than a decade.