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The Philippines' move not to stamp Chinese passports in protest of the South China Sea map on the travel document will likely have no impact on tourist arrivals, a trade association said Wednesday.
“It will not impact much on the Department of Tourism targets since other markets are outperforming,” said Aileen Clemente, Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) president.
The DOT expects to lure as much as 4.5 million foreign tourists this year.
In January to June, the department recorded 2.1 million tourist arrivals – mostly from South Korea, United States, Japan, China and Taiwan – up 11.68 percent 1.9 million a year earlier.
On Monday, the Philippine government imposed the new policy of stamping visas on a separate form and not on the Chinese passports – both the old and the newly issued documents that carry the image of South China Sea, including areas involved in a territorial dispute with other countries.
The new electronic passports bear the image that outlines Beijing’s expansive claim over South China Sea – officially called by Manila as West Philippine Sea – depicting the so-called nine-dash line that covers nearly 90 percent of the waters and overlaps with the sovereign territories of its Southeast Asian neighbors like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. Taiwan also claims sovereignty over some parts of sea.
To avoid confusion, all Chinese passports are covered under the new visa policy.
“If somebody applied for a visa in Beijing, we will immediately place or stamp our visa on a separate sheet of paper, “ Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez earlier said.
He added the DFA expects the Bureau of Immigration “to stamp the entry and exit visa on that same separate form” for Chinese visitors in the Philippines. — VS, GMA News