DOT expects more foreign travelers starting April 1

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expressed optimism that more foreign tourists will visit the country with the easing of travel restrictions starting next month.

The DOT announced on Friday, March 11, that there will be no longer limitation on the number of international passengers arriving in all ports of entry in the country after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to lift the arrival quota for unvaccinated passengers in all ports of entry.

Under Resolution 164-A, the IATF made the submission of a negative laboratory-based antigen test result taken within 24 hours from departure an alternate option for arriving passengers.

This resolution replaced the previous requirement of a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.It likewise allows the entry of passport holders from Hong Kong and Macau for a period not exceeding 14 days.

“This latest development opens the country to all fully vaccinated tourists from all countries, and means the country's tourism industry is well on its way to recover. We at the DOT thank our colleagues in the IATF for approving such measures that will help sustain the recovery of the sector in the coming months," said Puyat.

“We have high hopes that all of these will result in an uptick in international travelers visiting the country during the summer season,” added Puyat.

The IATF Resolution 164, on the other hand, approves the reciprocal recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates from Croatia, Cyprus, and Nepal, which are among the 157 countries whose citizens can enter the Philippines without a visa under EO 408.

“While our domestic tourists have been the pillar of our recovery, we are also excited to welcome more foreign visitors in the weeks ahead. Such a move to further ease our borders and recognize the vaccination certificates of other countries is very important, noting that our top foreign markets were part of the visa-free countries,” said Puyat.

The country reopened its borders to tourists from visa-free countries last February 10.

The number of arrivals to the country's main airports has reached 76,736, 43,249 are foreign tourists, while 33,487 are ‘balikbayans’ or known as returning Filipinos as of March 9.