Life's not a beach for Boracay's tourism vendors

First battered by President's cleanup order, Philippine island now reels from virus blows

Boracay reopened to domestic tourists on Oct 1 to revive its stalled economy. But no one is expecting a fairy-tale rebound.
Boracay, which used to draw about 40,000 visitors a day, has seen tourist numbers plunge, making it hard for those who make a living by selling food and T-shirts. Boracay reopened to the rest of the country on Oct 1 after a seven-month shutdown to cu
Boracay, which used to draw about 40,000 visitors a day, has seen tourist numbers plunge, making it hard for those who make a living by selling food and T-shirts. Boracay reopened to the rest of the country on Oct 1 after a seven-month shutdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 but only 135 tourists turned up over the first three days after the relaxation. PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Even before a lethal coronavirus began sweeping across the Philippines in January, the famed island resort of Boracay was already down on its knees.

A massive cleanup ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte in March 2018 forced the island - its powdery white beaches and cerulean waters overrun by garbage and sewage issues - to shut down for six months.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2020, with the headline 'Life's not a beach for Boracay's tourism vendors'. Print Edition | Subscribe