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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Paradise regained: Philippines' Boracay island re-opens for test run - in pictures

There will be a crackdown on partying on the beach when the island officially welcomes back tourists

Beach life is slowly returning to Philippines' paradise Boracay island.

The white sandy beach opened to a limited amount of day-trippers on the first of a 10-day test run.

In April, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the island to close after years of unregulated growth turned paradise into a "cesspool".

Before closure, the 1,000-hectare island drew two million tourists a year, pumping roughly $1 billion in revenue into the economy.

That contributed to a sharp downturn in Philippines growth. However, Mr Duterte said the cleanup was worth it in order to protect the island's fragile ecosystem.

Life will not be the same again on the island. Beach drinking and smoking will be a thing of the past and only 19,000 visitors will be allowed at one time. The number of hotel rooms has also been sharply cut to 6,000 - about half of the current total.

The hotels will now be ow required to put up their own sewage treatment plants, while garbage will be put on a barge every night and shipped across the sea to a landfill, Environment Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor said earlier this month.