^

Headlines

Philippines to let in vaxxed tourists from green countries

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Philippines to let in vaxxed tourists from green countries
he DOT said the government has approved the move “in principle” and formed a special technical working group on travel to prepare the guidelines for final approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Mark Ralston / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — International tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the Philippines soon, beginning with those from green-listed countries, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said yesterday.

The DOT said the government has approved the move “in principle” and formed a special technical working group on travel to prepare the guidelines for final approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

At Malacañang, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also confirmed that the country will soon accept foreign tourists.

“There’s just a few things that we need to tweak. But the reason why we are announcing it is because we are putting the entire world on notice that we will eventually open up our shores to tourists coming from green list countries,” Nograles, acting presidential spokesman, said at a press briefing.

“It will happen soon. We are just making a few adjustments in the guidelines for tourists coming from green list countries,” he said.?Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the proposal to open leisure travel from green list or low-risk countries would be bound by strict conditions, including the limitation to only fully vaccinated foreign tourists.

“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.

The secretary said the approval is a “welcome development,” considering that neighboring countries have already opened their borders to international leisure travelers.

“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,” she said.

Puyat said the DOT is also working on the proposal to open special travel lanes or bubbles for the vaccinated.

This program would benefit vaccinated tourists coming from yellow list countries, subject to certain restrictions and strict conditions, she said.

Shortened quarantine

In another development, the DOT lauded the decision to shorten quarantine days for returning overseas Filipinos from yellow countries, saying it would “greatly contribute to the ongoing recovery of the tourism sector this holiday season.”

Starting Nov. 22, the hotel quarantine period has been shortened to only three days from the previous five days for fully vaccinated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and balikbayans from yellow list countries.

“This latest development will greatly contribute to the ongoing recovery of the tourism sector this holiday season while also providing more time to those who want to return home to be with their loved ones in the Philippines,” Puyat said.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion also welcomed the announcement. “We are so glad they granted our request to reduce the facility-based quarantine stays,” he said.

The Go Negosyo founder has long been lobbying for the reduction of the mandated five-day stay at quarantine facilities for fully vaccinated individuals, citing the requirement as the reason for travelers to put off plans to visit the Philippines this holiday season.

Under the new rules, fully vaccinated returning Filipinos with pre-departure testing within 72 hours would be required to undergo only a three-day facility-based quarantine and repeat testing on the third day.

However, they are still enjoined to complete self-monitoring up to the 14th day from arrival.

Those without pre-departure testing would be subjected to a facility-based quarantine, until the release of their COVID test result taken on the 5th day.

Once tested negative, they would be released for home quarantine until the 10th day.

Those who are yet to be vaccinated would undergo facility-based quarantine with testing on the 7th day, to be followed by home quarantine up to 14th day upon the release of a negative test result.By encouraging inbound travel to the Philippines, Concepcion said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have suffered losses would benefit.

“Many MSMEs are counting on the increased holiday and pre-election spending to help them recover from the losses during the pandemic. They will be able to pay back their loans and earn enough to provide for their workers’ 13th month pay. There are many things that depend on letting our kababayans come home this Christmas,” he said.

He also said the private sector is looking for ways to speed up testing through the use of new technologies to address possible increase in passenger arrivals.

During the Laging Handa briefing yesterday, Concepcion said he hopes the National Capital Region would move to Alert Level 1 by next month from the current Alert Level 2 as the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to go down. – Helen Flores, Louella Desiderio

DOT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with