Boracay tourists to bear brunt of environ fees hike

PRE-COVID times, tourists to Boracay Island only had to pay an environmental fee of P75; starting on February 1, 2021, it will range between P150 and P300./INews

MALAY, Aklan – It’s going to cost a bit more to visit Boracay Island.

Tourists entering Boracay Island will have to bear the brunt of an environmental fee increase to help sustain tourism infrastructures and services on the island.

Malay town treasurer Dediosa Dioso announced that the new fees as stipulated in Municipal Ordinance No. 431 will be charged beginning February 1, 2021.

The ordinance authored by Malay councilor Nanette Aguirre-Graf and approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan on November 9, 2020, will affect non-Aklanon tourists and foreigners only.

Under the new scheme, the environmental fee will increase by 100 percent for non-Aklanon tourists, from P75 to P150, while that for foreigners will be P300, up from the previous fee of P75.

Tourists will also be required to shell out P100 for the terminal fee at Caticlan port, the main jump-off point to Boracay Island.

The ordinance waives the payment of the environmental fee for returning Aklanons or balikbayans, Aklanons, their children and grandchildren as well as persons below 12 years old.

To note, the last time the environmental fee reflected a hike was in 2005.

The increase in environmental fees is seen as a greater reliance on domestic tourists at a time when there is a lack of tourism income on Boracay Island due to COVID-19 restrictions, which includes the suspension of foreigners from inbound markets.

While many are protesting the hikes, Malay officials are quick to point out that the fees are so minimal, they don’t even come close to what an average tourist would spend for accommodations and food while on vacation.

TABON PORT

The terminal fees at Tabon port, the alternative seaport in Malay, are also being increased to P100 from P50.

Exempted to pay the Tabon terminal fee under Municipal Ordinance No. 430 are Aklanons, officers and enlisted men of Armed Forces of the Philippines and members of Philippine National Police on official mission or assignment, persons with disabilities 60 years old or older, persons below 12 years old, and post office staff delivering mail. In addition, a 20 percent discount on the terminal fee and environment fee is given to students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. People misrepresenting themselves as Aklanons to dodge the fees will be fined P2,500./(Boy Ryan Zabal/INews-Aklan/Boracay Island)

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