Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat joyfully announced that fully vaccinated foreign tourists from the green-listed countries would soon be allowed to enter the Philippines for leisure travel.
She said that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved the Department of Tourism's (DOT) request to allow international tourists from green list countries/territories/jurisdictions to visit the country, following the guidelines as may be finalized and approved by the IATF.
Puyat noted that this is a welcome development as other countries have already reopened their borders to international leisure travelers.
"Our ASEAN neighbors like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia also did the same. We believe that it is also time for us to reopen our borders for inbound tourism as a way towards full recovery," enthused Puyat.
The Special Technical Working Group on Travel was tasked to promptly come up with the said guidelines for the final approval of the IATF.
The tourism chief also said that the proposal to open leisure travel from "green countries," or those classified by the Department of Health (DOH) as low-risk countries, will be based on strict conditions.
Only fully vaccinated individuals with vaccines recognized by the country's Food and Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or those authorized by the World Health Organization will be allowed entry to the country.
"Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with low infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts--increasing tourist arrivals and receipts among others," Puyat said.
"This move will likewise aid in bolstering consumer confidence, which is a large contributor to our gross domestic product or GDP growth," she added.
Separately, the DOT will also be working on another proposal with the Small Technical Working Group called Travel: "Vaccinated Travel Lanes or Bubbles."
It is a special program for vaccinated tourists from yellow list countries that may enter the Philippines under certain restrictions and strict conditions.