Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Director Helen Catalbas has suggested a temporary closure of Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo province.
The three to four-month shutdown, according to Catalbas, is for the good of the place.
Islas de Gigantes is an island chain consisting of several islets like Cabugao Gamay, Bantigue, Cabugao Daku and Pulupandan.It is one of the top tourist drawers in the province.
“This is our suggestion. The implementation will still depend on the decision of the local government unit of Carles,” Catalbas clarified.
She said the temporary closure would also give owners of establishments on the island to improve their facilities.
“We are also willing to provide training to frontliners, tricycle drivers, boat operators, hotel and restaurant owners, among others,” Catalbas added.
The director said she doesn’t want Islas de Gigantes to suffer the same fate as Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.
The world-famous island was closed to tourists on April 26, 2018 for rehabilitation.
Last May, Senator Nancy Binay proposed an “early inventory” of island destinations, especially in the northern part of Iloilo.
“Kung may inventory malalaman natin ‘yong carrying capacity ng islands and if they are ready. If ‘yong carrying capacity is 1000 sa isang island, 1000 lang dapat talaga ‘yong pwedeng pumunta doon,” she said.
Binay specifically mentioned Islas de Gigantes and those in the town of Concepcion.
“Dapat ngayon palang pinag-aaralan na natin ang mga island destination natin. Kasi sa Boracay, we spent so much sa marketing, nagtayo ng malaking airports tapos ‘yon pala ang Boracay ito lang ang kayang i-accomodate, so parang nagkaroon ng wastage na naman,” she said.IMT