For cleaning, upgrading: Gigantes island self-closure underway

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Gigantes Island in Western Visayas can take a cue from Boracay and close down for a few months to clean up and upgrade its facilities for tourists.

The recommendation came from the Department of Tourism in Region 6, which said the island needs to be “more presentable” to local and foreign tourists.

“They could self-close if they want. It’s just a suggestion but the decision lies with the local government unit,” said DOT-6 regional director Helen Catalbas.

Catalbas said the self-closure could last three to four months, for cleanup and improvement of facilities.

She said they are willing to provide seminars to frontliners such as tricycle drivers pump boat operators, restaurant owners, among others.

The suggestion for closure was discussed during the Northern Iloilo Cruise Tourism Ocular Inspection and Stakeholders Dialogue at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol last July 10.

Catalbas said the measure aims to prevent Gigantes from suffering the fate of Boracay, which was closed to tourists last April and is due to reopen in October.

Also, she said the proposed closure of Gigantes is a preventive measure.

For his part, Carles Mayor Salagunting Betita welcomed the suggestion, but said it may be hard to tell local traders to halt their operations.

He said he will create a committee to study the compliance of some 36 establishments in the island.

“There will be a need to offer them alternative livelihood for the affected employees,” he said.

Also, the mayor said he will talk to other mayors to come up with a plan of action to improve the tourism in Northern Iloilo.