Philippine tourism industry upbeat as country gradually reopens borders

The Department of Tourism (DOT) remains optimistic for further increase in tourist arrivals in the country, following the recent reopening of its borders last week.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the DOT is looking at a gradual pace in the influx of tourists, which will then aid in the coveted recuperation of the local tourism scene.

“International travel and tourism saw an unprecedented decline in visitor arrivals amid the pandemic; the reopening of Philippines’ borders to visitors from visa-free countries will surely help in improving our numbers,” Puyat said.

“We at the DOT are excited to see a revival in our local tourism and will continue to support our partners in achieving this goal,” she added.

As of 14 February 2022, actual inbound tourist arrivals from visa-free countries aggregated to 9,283. DOT data also showed that of this number, 4,209 are balikbayans while the 5,074 are foreign tourists.

Tourists from the United States of America (USA) make up the largest chunk of foreign tourists during the four-day period with 2,227 arrivals; this is followed by 661 from Canada; 404 from Australia; 344 from United Kingdom; 189 from South Korea, 169 from Japan; and 168 from Germany.

Puyat also highlighted the country’s readiness for the influx of foreign travelers further noting that more than 90 percent of its target tourism workers nationwide are fully-vaccinated.

“The DOT’s goal has since shifted to providing fully vaccinated workers with booster shots, which will not only give them extra protection against the virus, but will also add to the confidence of local and foreign tourists as they make their way to the country’s many breathtaking destinations,” enthused the tourism chief.

As of 11 February 2021, a total of 323,206 individuals or 93.09 percent of the DOT’s nationwide target of 353,075 tourism workers in various tourism-related industries are already completely inoculated against COVID-19. Of this, 57,347 or 17.74 percent have already received their booster COVID-19 shots.

While at it, the DOT reminded that fully vaccinated tourists are required to present proof of vaccination as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or the World Health Organization (WHO) as well a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to departure country of origin.

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