The PH's famous tourist spots like Boracay and Palawan are among the preferred destinations of international travelers

The PH's famous tourist spots like Boracay and Palawan are among the preferred destinations of international travelers

Foreign markets still hold interest in the country's famous tourist destinations such as Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol.

On February 10, the Philippines opened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from 157 visa-free countries.

"As far as the inquiries are concerned, (the preferred destinations) are still the major staples of the Philippines such as Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol," Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) President Jose Clemente III said based on the report of PNA.

Demands from North America, Europe, and some from the Middle East had been coming since last week.

Clemente thinks they might be propelled by the "liberal travel restrictions" in these regions, the opposite to the stricter protocols implemented in Omicron-hit Asia.

"If you compare all of the travel restrictions either incoming or outgoing, Asia seems to have the toughest set of protocols as far as people coming in or going out. Our problem actually is if people are allowed to go out of their countries, what protocols or guidelines would they have going back from the Philippines? So that's what hampers travel," he said.

But, Clemente remains hopeful that Asian countries will ease their pandemic restrictions when the Omicron cases are in a downward trend.

"Long-haul markets, yes, we'll be seeing it now. Asian, medium-haul markets, short-haul markets, maybe a few more months before they really start considering," he said.

As new tourism products and new travel ideas are in high demand, Clemente said the TCP is creating seven to 21-day programs to cater long-haul markets, especially Europe.

However, the executive said it would take time since they would have to check with various suppliers severely hit by the pandemic over the past two years.

"There would be a lot of restarts that would take place but that said, the confidence now is there in the Philippines. They don't seem to have lost their confidence in the Philippines to visit and, in some cases, to come back," he said with a mix of Filipino.

Among those allowed to enter starting February 10 are travelers from South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany-- some of the Philippines' top source markets.

Fully vaccinated Filipino nationals and foreign tourists are also exempt from the 5,000-passenger arrivals cap set by the Department of Transportation and its One-Stop-Shop, which only applies to unvaccinated travelers.

(PNA)


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