Marcos orders extension of e-visa to Chinese, Japanese, Indians

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos orders extension of e-visa to Chinese, Japanese, Indians
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks in this undated photo.
Office of the Press Secretary

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday directed agencies to extend the e-visa for Chinese, Indian, South Korean and Japanese nationals to encourage tourists from their countries to visit the Philippines.

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Marcos issued the order during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), which advises the President on government policies.

“To capture the tourism markets of China and India, PSAC has recommended the inclusion of Indian nationals under the visa-upon-arrival program and the extension of e-visa, which is currently available only for Taiwanese citizens, to Chinese, Indian, South Korean, and Japanese nationals,” Garafil said in a statement.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said his agency is collaborating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the development of technical plans for the issuance of e-visa.

Manalo noted that the DFA has a visa-upon-arrival program that applies to certain Chinese nationals. Other citizens like Americans, Japanese, Australian, Canadians and Europeans can have a visa valid for 14 days upon arrival.

DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said his agency is still studying various connectivity matters that have to be threshed out with regard to the other jurisdictions that will avail themselves of the Philippines’ e-visa platform.

It would take at least a semester to develop the capability since there is so much anti-fraud element that needs to be consolidated with the platform. Various countries also have to connect with the system and with the transactions, he added.

“The President made a recommendation for the DICT to take India’s offer for the use of its app regarding visas,” Garafil said.

The PSAC recommended the rolling out of the e-visa this year to prioritize China and India in the program.

The council also suggested the implementation of a value-added tax refund program for foreign tourists by 2024; removal of the One Health Pass or the requirement of one form only for health, immigration and customs; revocation of “outdated” advisories and loudspeaker announcements at airports, and automatic inclusion of travel tax in all airline tickets.

PSAC also enumerated short-term strategic recommendations like the improvement of airport infrastructure and operations, promotion of tourism investments and managing national brand or image.

A total of 2.65 million visitors came to the Philippines from February to December last year, higher than the 2021 tourist arrivals of 163,879 but still significantly lower than the pre-pandemic level of 8.26 million.

The tourism department aims to welcome 4.8 million tourists this year to generate P2.58 trillion in revenue.

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