The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees a sustained recovery of the heavy-hit tourism sector as the Philippines is the first country in Asia to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated foreign leisure travelers and has the most relaxed entry protocols such as a quarantine-free entry.
“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,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.
Puyat added that tourists are also permitted to freely 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.
Since the Philippines started to accept foreign travelers, Puyat said the tourist arrivals are 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 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.
Since before, the DOT was proactive in making proposals to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that would balance the recovery of the tourism sector and restore 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 better 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 said.