MANILA, 7 February 2022: The country’s tourism industry will welcome fully vaccinated international travellers starting 10 February, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported last week.
According to The Philippines News Agency report, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the sector had been preparing for this development since the borders were closed in 2020.
“While this will be the first time the Philippines is opening its doors for foreign leisure travellers since the start of the pandemic, the tourism industry has prepared for this development for close to two years,” she said in a text message. “We look forward to welcoming foreign visitors once again, especially with Metro Manila, the country’s main international gateway, placed under Alert Level 2.”
She confirmed that health and safety protocols would remain in place.
“Tourism workers have been vaccinated, and the observance of health and safety protocols at every destination remains to be a priority. The DOT will be focusing its efforts on the visa-free countries under EO 408 that are identified as our key, strategic, and opportunity markets,” she said.
Travellers must be fully vaccinated and arriving from countries that are on the visa-free list. They must present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours before their departure from the country of origin.
At the latest count, 157 countries enjoy visa-free entry privileges to the Philippines. They include top tourist markets such as South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, US and Germany.
Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief-operating-officer Ma. Anthonette Velasco-Allones noted the country had established 79 tourism circuits, consisting of travel-ready places in different regions.
“It is safe to say that they are ready. They are more than ready,” she said, adding that the TPB is also working with the DOT-National Capital Region to “refresh” visitor arrival areas in Metro Manila.
The government is also eyeing to further streamline travel rules in destinations to make travel more convenient, especially for foreign tourists.
With the Philippines finally reopening its gates to leisure travellers, Velasco-Allones expressed optimism about the Philippines’ tourism industry in 2022.
“Our outlook for the tourism industry in 2022 is quite optimistic. Imagine the first major global summit will happen in the Philippines in April,” she said, referring to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit.
She added that the government would continue to promote and develop the Philippines as a top international MICE-destination.
Aside from the WTTC Global Summit, one of the events slated in the coming months is the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
“Our MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions) team is also in talks with several professional associations like medical groups wellness groups because there are professional and corporate events already in our calendar,” Velasco-Allones said.