The Department of Tourism said Thursday it sees a sustained recovery of the tourism sector as the Philippines becomes the first country in Asia to accept fully-vaccinated foreign leisure travelers under the most relaxed entry protocols.
“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. Tourists are allowed to 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,” said Tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.
The Philippines is also set to host a global tourism summit in April. It started to accepting fully-vaccinated foreign leisure travelers from visa-free countries starting Feb. 10 this year.
Puyat said tourist arrivals since then gradually picked up, and the DOT looks forward to an uptick in the summer season and the Holy Week break in April.
Data from the agency showed that as of Feb. 28, the number of international tourist arrivals reached 47,715, including 26,306 foreign visitors and 21,409 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 are able to present a negative RT-PCR result.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Health Organization called for the lifting of travel bans in February, stating that the bans do not provide added value and continue to contribute to economic and social stress.
The DOT has been proactive in making proposals to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that would balance the recovery of the sector and the restoration of jobs without compromising the health and safety of the workers and visitors.
Puyat said that along with the goal toward sustained recovery, she has high hopes for stronger programs and partnerships with other tourism ministers and global leaders as the Philippines is about to host the World Travel and Tourism Council 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 recognitions we received over the past years, our goal is to restore jobs and revenue streams for our tourism workers and stakeholders,” she said.