Led by Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, the Philippine delegation engaged with Japan's tourism stakeholders to promote the country as a safe travel destination in the new normal.
As the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) continues its marketing and promotional efforts to international leisure travelers, it sets its sights on potential visitors from a significant source market- Japan.
Before the pandemic, Japan has consistently been the Philippines' fourth-biggest tourism source market. In 2019, the country recorded 682,788 tourists from Japan.
Since the country's reopening last February 10, the Philippines welcomed 2,125 leisure travelers from Japan as of March 20, 2022.
During the delegation's official trip to Japan, Puyat met with Japanese travel agents, tour operators, tourism organizations, English studies operators, economic federations, and Japanese media from Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.
She highlighted, among others, the country's low COVID-19 cases, the high vaccination rate of tourism workers, compliance with global safety and hygiene protocols, and simplified entry requirements and processes.
Furthermore, Puyat assured the Japanese tourism stakeholders that the DOT would continue to provide marketing support, including chartered flights to the Philippines.
Puyat also introduced a program to entice fully vaccinated Japanese travelers who have yet to receive their booster jabs by providing booster shots at popular tourist destinations in the country, enabling Japanese tourists to go back to Japan without having to do quarantine.
"Like other tourism ministries, the Philippines Department of Tourism exhausted all possible efforts to revive the industry, primarily to restore jobs and rebuild revenue streams. Now, we are glad to see the fruits of our labor after nearly two years of preparations to push for the sector's recovery," she said.
Puyat emphasized that the Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia to have the simplest travel process with no quarantines or testing upon arrival.
"We are aware that the pandemic is still here, and health should always be the priority. We strive to balance public safety and economic recovery by crafting policies that safeguard our citizen's well-being as well as revive the tourism sector," she stressed.
Puyat also met with the DOT's counterpart, the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MOLIT), to discuss the resumption of two-way tourism traffic between the two countries.
"The Philippines and Japan share a common goal for the tourism sector, that of promoting our respective destinations and thereby contributing meaningfully to the growth of our nations' economies," Puyat said.
Puyat has also invited Japanese tourism players to the much-anticipated World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit to be held in Manila, Philippines, from April 20 to 22.
This will "open discussions between industry stakeholders, organizations, and governments to support economic recovery through the restarting of travel and tourism and attracting investments centered on the safe and secure reopening of the industry," Puyat disclosed.