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The Philippine government has imposed new closure dates and limits on the size and number of ships to be allowed to dock in Boracay in another move to protect the environment.

Art Boncato Jr, tourism undersecretary for tourism regulation coordination and resource generation, revealed that Boracay will be closed to cruise ships during peak summer season, major holidays and long weekends.

The island will be closed on the following dates:

-Peak summer season (16 April to 31st May 2019)

-Eid al-Fitr (11 August)

-Philippines’ National Heroes Day (26 August)

-All Saints and All Souls Day (26 October to 8 November)

-Southeast Asia Games (November 30 to December 11)

-The Christmas and New Year period

In the remaining parts of the year, cruise ships allowed to dock in Boracay have a maximum capacity of 2,000 passengers, half the 4,000 passengers previously allowed.

“We’re doing this because we always have the carrying capacity in mind,” says Mr Boncato last Friday on the sidelines of the PATA Annual Summit in Cebu City.

Currently, no more than 19,215 tourists are allowed in in Boracay at any given time and daily tourist arrivals are capped at 6,400 people.

“We don’t want to breach that and we want to control the tourism environment especially at this time when we are still finishing the rehabilitation (of the island),” says Mr Boncato.

Mr Boncato added that the Boracay inter-agency task force is diverting cruise ships to other destinations in the Philippines.

Subic is set to be the biggest beneficiary during Boracay’s temporary closure. The task force also plans to promote Ilocos, Iloilo, Bacolod and other destinations.

A number of major cruise lines will change itineraries as a result of the decision.

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