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Philippines welcomed nearly 11k foreign tourists days since reopening - DOTr

The Philippines has received nearly 11,000 foreign tourists since it reopened its borders to international travelers from visa-free countries, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Saturday.

At least 10,676 foreign tourists entered the country between February 10 (reopening date) and February 15, said DOTr-Office for Transportation Security Administrator Raul del Rosario at the Laging Handa briefing. 

He said foreign arrivals had jumped around 10% as a result of the new policy. 

“Inaasahan pa natin na dadami pa ito pagdating ng summer months,” del Rosario said.

(We expect more tourists, especially during the summer months.)

Under the guidelines, the following foreign nationals can enter the country, subject to certain conditions:

  • They are former Filipino citizens with Balikbayan privilege under the Balikbayan Program law, including their spouse and/or children who are not balikbayans and are traveling with them, provided they are not restricted nationals;
  • They are citizen/national of countries entitled to a stay not exceeding 30 days as per Executive Order 408, S. 1960, as amended which can be found on this link

Additional requirements for foreign travelers include:

  • full vaccination against COVID-19 and is in possession of an acceptable proof of vaccination, except only for minors below 12 years of age traveling with their fully-vaccinated foreign parent/s
  • a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin/first port of embarkation in a continuous travel to the Philippines, excluding lay-overs; provided, that, he/she has not left the airport premises or has not been admitted into another country during such lay-over
  • valid tickets for their return journey to the port of origin or next port of destination not later than 30 days from date of arrival in the Philippines
  • passports valid for a period of at least six months at the time of their arrival in the Philippines
  • travel insurance for COVID-19 treatment costs from reputable insurers, with a minimum coverage of $35,000 for the duration of their stay in the Philippines (obtained prior to arrival)

Del Rosario said that 91% of arriving foreign nationals in the country were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

He said that foreign travelers arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were mostly from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Korea while those arriving in Cebu were mostly from South Korea, Singapore, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

The DOTr official added airlines are planning to boost flight capacity in March in preparation for the summer peak season.

“They're looking forward to increasing arrivals by summer and they're really preparing well. Excited sila dahil ito ay magbo-boost ng financial status ng mga airline (They are excited since this will boost the financial status of the airlines),” del Rosario said. — VBL, GMA News