The Duterte administration’s decision to rehabilitate Boracay was recently lauded by the Belgium government saying it was a “good decision” after all, Belgian Ambassador to Manila Michel Goffin said.
“Let’s be frank, when you cleaned Boracay, when you cleaned El Nido, this is a very good decision. President (Rodrigo) Duterte is doing the right thing in cleaning up these areas,” he told reporters during the King’s Day reception in Makati.
The diplomat also lauded the upcoming rehabilitation plans of the government for other popular Philippine destinations, including El Nido in Palawan.
“You have such a beautiful country, not only in Boracay and El Nido, everywhere else. Let’s keep it, together, clean and sustainable,” he said.
On October 26, the world-renowned Boracay was reopened to visitors after a six-month closure.
Goffin said such initiative translates to the government’s commitment towards sustainable tourism, a move that will eventually attract more tourists.
In 2017, Manila welcomed at least 15,000 visitors from Brussels. While this keeps “increasing,” the Philippines’ brand as trove of beautiful tourist sites is little known in Brussels.
“The Philippines should be much more promoted in Central Europe because everyone knows Thailand. We sort of start to know Indonesia but the Philippines is still very far and there’s big market out there,” he said.
The envoy also noted the need to improve infrastructure in the country, specifically the connectivity between some island provinces.
“Really, you have beautiful places but even for me, it’s difficult to reach. There’s no train, there’s no public transport, crossing islands on a ferry is really difficult. You should really improve infrastructure,” he said.
The government is currently implementing the “Build, Build, Build” program with big ticket infrastructure projects such as construction of airports, bridges and train system in the works. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA)
Photo credit: Philippine Information Agency