The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees a sustained recovery of the heavily impacted sector as the Philippines becomes the first country in Asia to accept fully vaccinated foreign leisure travelers with the most relaxed entry protocols, including quarantine-free entry, while also allowing visitors to freely travel to reopened destinations around the country.
“We are proud to say that our entry requirements are delivered in a simple format, without the need for facility-based quarantine primarily for fully vaccinated visitors. Tourists are allowed to travel to all reopened tourist destinations in the country as long as they comply with the requirements from the local government units with jurisdiction over these areas,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.
The Philippines has since welcomed fully-vaccinated foreign leisure travelers from visa-free countries starting February 10. Puyat said tourist arrivals since then have been gradually picking up and the Department looks forward to an uptick during the summer season and the Holy Week break this April.
As of February 28, the number of international tourist arrivals has reached 47,715, of which 26,306 foreign visitors and 21,409 are balikbayans.
Aside from the suspension of the country classification system, fully-vaccinated leisure travelers from visa-free countries listed under EO 408 are no longer required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative RT-PCR result.
In late February this year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the lifting of travel bans, stating that they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to economic and social stress.
To recall, the DOT has been proactive in making proposals to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that would balance the recovery of the sector and the restoration of jobs without compromising the health and safety of the workers and visitors.
Along with the goal toward sustained recovery, Puyat has high hopes to yield stronger programs and partnerships with other tourism ministers and global leaders as the Philippines will host the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) global tourism summit in April.
“We only want what is best for the sector. This hosting of the WTTC Summit will benefit the country by showcasing what the Philippines can offer to the world. More than the recognition we received over the past years, our goal is to restore jobs and revenue streams for our tourism workers and stakeholders,” she noted.