ILOILO CITY, July 30 (PNA) — Tourist arrivals in Boracay Island is expected to increase after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) granted visa-free entry privilege to foreigners visiting the island-resort off Malay, Aklan.
Department of Tourism (DOT-Boracay) officer-in-charge Tim Ticar said this is a positive development for Boracay as foreigners will be given the opportunity to visit the country even without visa.
The BI further extended the privilege to 30 days from the previous 21 days effective August 1.
Ticar said the extension of the visa-free entry privilege would also help hotels, airlines, restaurants, transport operators and travel agencies in the island-resort.
In 2012, 40 percent of visitors in Boracay were foreigners, he noted.
During the first six months this year, the DOT-Boracay has already recorded a high mark of 248,000 foreign tourists.
Meanwhile, the DOT-Boracay is also pushing the strict regulation of the building of sandcastles in the island-resort.
Ticar said these activities have damaged the white sands because of kerosene or oil being used as sand lanterns apart from the fact that sandcastles can affect the natural terrain and sand formations of the shoreline.
He said though islanders earn extra income out of sandcastles and tourists enjoy picture-taking activity out of the scenery, there’s a need to regulate the activity to protect and preserve the shoreline from the risk of sand erosion and pollution.
Ticar said that in 2007, the Malay town council passed Municipal Ordinance No. 246 which regulates the building of sandcastles in the island.
Under the ordinance, sandcastle artists are required to secure necessary permit from the municipal government before they could be allowed to build sandcastles for promotional purposes or special events.