Freeman Cebu Business

Envoy: Philippines eVisa system to attract tourists, investors

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman
Envoy: Philippines eVisa system to attract tourists, investors
Ambassador of India to the Philippines Shambhu S. Kumaran (center) with members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI)and delegates to the India Business Roadshow-Cebu.
Ehda M. Dagooc

CEBU, Philippines — The implementation of the eVisa system in the Philippines for Indian nationals is poised to not only attract tourists from India, but also stimulate interest in investments and rise in bookings for Indian meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE).

Ambassador of India to the Philippines Shambhu S. Kumaran made this statement during his recent visit to Cebu to grace the opening of the two-day India Business Roadshow held on November 14-15 at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu.

Once tourism numbers pick up, investments will follow, said Kumaran anticipating a surge of investments in hospitality and other tourism-related ventures, notably driven by the increased influx of the Indian MICE market.

The eVisa system allows tourists from India to apply for and obtain a visa online, which will streamline the visa application process and make it more convenient for tourists to visit the Philippines. Simplified visa processes can give a host country a competitive advantage in the global tourism and business landscape, attracting more visitors and investment.

We are hopeful that this [eVisa system] could be implemented this year, expressed Kumaran, underscoring the benefits the Philippines could expect by facilitating a swift and hassle-free travel process for Indian visitors.

The Ambassador also mentioned the interest of airlines offering more direct flights from India to the Philippines once the eVisa system is implemented.

Over 21 million Indians traveled out of their country in 2022, with the top five destinations being the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Singapore, and Thailand. Indian passport holders are said to enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 57 countries.

Cebu roadshow

As part of its commercial outreach activities, the Embassy of India in Manila organized the Cebu Roadshow (14-15 November 2023) in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI) and the India Business Forum (IBF).

IBF is a non-profit organization that acts as a think-tank and voice of the Indian Businesses in the Philippines, as well as a focal point for engagement with interested Philippines businesses to promote India-Philippines bilateral economic relations.

The roadshow focused on prominent sectors that hold potential for partnership based on complementary strengths and comparative advantages, such as Agriculture, Energy and infrastructure, Healthcare and pharmaceuticals, IT-BPM and Innovative Tech Solutions, and Tourism.

More than 40 Indian businesses joined the event, reflecting the Indian s interest in investments and business partnerships in Cebu.

Cebu Roadshow is a 2-Day event and includes, inter alia, expert panel discussions, B2B meetings, presentations and showcasing by the participating Indian businesses, signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CCCI and IBF,and goodwill contribution by the Indian businesses. The Indian business delegation also met the Hon Governor Cebu Province Gwendolyn Garcia, and the Cebu City Government officials.

India and the Philippines have entered a new phase in their economic relations with the volume of trade marking a new milestone. The last fiscal year registered a trade volume in surplus of US$3 billion.

Both India and Philippines are young fast growing democratic economies with immense potential for mutually beneficial collaboration. Several Indian businesses across a range of sectors are already contributing to the positive growth story of the Philippines.

The 1st edition of the India Business Roadshow in the Philippines was organized in a hybrid format in Baguio City on 28 November 2021 in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) under the Global Biz forum, with active participation from more than 10 Indian businesses. The 2nd India Business Roadshow was held in Davao City on 18 February 2022, with 10 participants from the Indian side and around 100 participants from the Philippines side. The 3rd India Business Roadshow was held in Cagayan de Oro City on 18 May 2022, with 39 participants from the Indian side and 71 participants from the Philippines side. The 4th India Business Roadshow in llocos Norte was held on 27 March 2023, with 16 participants from the Indian side and 139 participants from the Philippines side. Most recently, an India Business Roadshow was held in Iloilo on 31 May 2023, with 40 participants from the Indian side and 161 participants from the Philippines side.

The India Business Roadshows have proven to be a practical means to further government-to-business and business-to-business engagements between India and the Philippines. It contributes to spreading awareness about business presence and expertise, showcasing cutting-edge products and solutions, exchange of ideas and business concepts as well as strengthening existing and creating new connections for strengthened economic cooperation.

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