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Philippines exceeds 200K foreign tourist arrivals

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Philippines exceeds 200K foreign tourist arrivals
This February 2021 photo shows tourists in Boracay.
Malay Municipal Tourism Office / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Friday announced that the country breached 200,000 foreign tourist arrivals.

As of April 7, 2022, the Philippines logged 202,700 foreign tourist arrivals.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed this development, nearly two months since the country eased travel restrictions to international travelers.

"The sustained influx of tourists in the Philippines is a good measure of the industry’s success in its preparations to welcome foreign tourists in the new normal. Our high vaccination rate among tourism workers and reportedly low cases around the country have helped restore the confidence of travelers to visit the Philippines during the summer season," Puyat said

"This continued growth shall aid our stakeholders, as well as the economy, in recovering from the effects caused by the pandemic," she added.

According to the data generated from the One Health Pass, tourists from the United States of America (USA) remain the top contributor to the total foreign tourist arrivals to the Philippines with 43,744 visitors; followed by Canada with 9,618; the United Kingdom with 9,315; South Korea with 8,440 and Australia with 8,212 tourists. 

The DOT chief said Philippines “still has one of the simplest and most relaxed travel restrictions.” This was after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases' (IATF-EID) approved a resolution allowing the use of rapid antigen tests as entry requirements for travelers; on the condition that this should be administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, or other similar establishments for purposes of entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.

Puyat also attributed the increase in tourist arrivals to the IATF-EID’s decision to expand the list of accepted and recognized national COVID-19 vaccination certificates, which now includes Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan, and Slovak Republic.

Last April 1, the Philippines also started accepting fully-vaccinated tourists from all countries. These visitors may be allowed entry without the need to provide Entry Exemption Document—provided that they comply with applicable visa and immigration laws, rules, and regulations.

Return of Korean, Japanese

Aside from easing travel restrictions, the DOT delegation, led by Puyat, visited Korea late March to meet with Korean tour operators in a bid to tap the Korean travel market, the country’s largest before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The delegation met with operators such as Kyowon KRT, Modu Tours, and Hana Tours and representatives of government agencies like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. They also met with representatives from the aviation industry, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Asiana, Air Seoul, T’way, Jin Air, Jeju Air and Fly Gangwon.

For the past two months, Korea is the fourth highest contributor to tourist arrivals. However, before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2018, it was the top source market with 1.98 million arrivals.

Also in March this year, Puyat also visited Japan to meet with Japanese travel agents, tour operators, tourism organizations, English studies operators, economic federations, as well as Japanese media from Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka in a bid to boost inbound tourism.

Japan is also one of the largest contributors and was considered the fourth-biggest tourism source market prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country recorded 682,788 tourists from Japan in 2019.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

JAPAN

KOREA

NEW NORMAL

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