Vaccinated foreign tourists could soon be welcomed back to the Philippines

Siargao property for sale Vaccinated foreign tourists
Siargao in the Philippines could soon welcome back vaccinated foreign tourists

A specific date hasn’t been confirmed just yet but vaccinated foreign tourists will likely be welcomed back to the Philippines in the near future. Plans on a reopening scheme will soon be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases with the body expected to approve them.

That would mean vaccinated foreign tourists from countries on the Philippines COVID-19 green list could finally visit the country after nearly two years away. The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) believes this is an important step in kickstarting an economic recovery.

“Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with low infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts — increasing tourist arrivals and receipts among others,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat explained. “This move will likewise aid in bolstering consumer confidence, which is a large contributor to our gross domestic product or GDP growth.”

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However, no specific date has been set and there remain some questions as to what the entry process will look like. There are currently 44 countries on the Philippines COVID-19 green list which contains some notable absences, such as the United States.

Some regional peers have already reopened to overseas arrivals with Thailand proving to perhaps be the most successful. The country began with a “Sandbox” program in select destinations but has since reopened fully to vaccinated foreign tourists from more than 60 places. Neither program led to a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Philippine Department of Tourism data showed there were 8.26 million foreign arrivals in 2019, more than a 15 percent increase from the previous year. The bulk of visitors to the Philippines come from China, South Korea, USA, Japan and Australia.