A new casino deal will put more of the beach island of Boracay in danger, the travel trade says.
Just after announcing the closure of its most popular beach island, the Philippine government has stunned the travel trade again, this time by approving a multi-million dollar casino project for construction there.
As reported, Boracay is due to be closed next month for rehabilitation from environmental problems caused by overdevelopment.
While trying to care for the island and determining its real carrying capacity, “for years we have been calling for a moratorium on buildings”, Tourism Congress of the Philippines’ president Jojo Clemente said yesterday at a press conference.
He said that adding more facilities “might not be to the best interest of Boracay”. Other industry leaders are calling the move “surreal” and “double standard”.
The industry is worried that Boracay is being stretched to its limits, as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp approved the US$500 million casino to be built by Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner Leisure & Resorts World Corporation.
This follows the approval of another casino in 2014 as well as the mammoth 1,001-key Hotel 101 Resort-Boracay, TTG Asia reports.
It is “ill-advised to spread the casino footprint” to Boracay, said Bill Barnett, managing director of hospitality and consulting firm C9 Hotelworks.
“I’d be very concerned by the prospects of gaming on Boracay, as the sheer scale conflicts with environmental issues being faced,” he explained.
It is probable that the influx of tourists from China, now Boracay’s top foreign market source, is the reason behind allowing casinos on the island. Attempts to build casinos there in the past were not permitted.