DENR says study on Boracay’s carrying capacity out next month

The study on the carrying capacity of Boracay Island will be out next month, said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-6) Director Jim Sampulna.

The study on the carrying capacity will determine the population that the island can accommodate.

Sampulna said “more observations have to be done”, which was why the study is not yet available when it should have been released 90 days or three months after the closure.

Sampulna said that they even hired a third party to help fast track the release of the results of the study.

It has been reported earlier that based on a study conducted in 2008, the island’s carrying capacity was only 35,000 people.

But on the same year of 2008, residents on the island already reached 32,500. Also, the study showed that there are 60,000 people on the island on ordinary days and reached around 110,000 during peak season.

Lawyer Helen Catalbas, director of the Department of Tourism  (DOT-6), said that they are very keen in getting the results of the study because it is the “key to the preparedness or the preparations that have to be made on the island prior to the actual opening.”

“The carrying study would tell us how many vehicles there should be on the island, how many tourists in addition to residents, how many visitors there will be on a daily basis or during lean or during peak days and it will also tell us how many flights,” she said.

“The carrying capacity will also be the basis of us in the DOT in informing the various tourism markets of the world that we are ready but we can only accommodate this many. If we do not put a cut to the number of visitors who will enter Boracay, as prescribed by the soon-to-be released carrying capacity study, then we might end up getting tourists with no rooms to stay,” she added.

Catalbas recalled that about two million local and foreign tourists visited Boracay last year or an average of 5,000-10,000 tourists daily. But during peak days, she said that there about 65,000 people on the island.

“We should be ready if the carrying capacity will say that there should not be more than 4,000 tourist arrivals on a daily basis, then we should abide by that otherwise, we will incur a lot of problems again,” she added.

Meanwhile, Nennette Graf, President of the Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI), said they are surprised that the carrying capacity had not been released yet as promised.

“They said, after three months, we will know about the carrying capacity of the island but at least they have already set the date of I think August 25, it will already be out,” she said.PNA