PSAC bats for 'e-Travel' app for inbound travelers

Malacañang said that the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) was working on a mobile application called "e-Travel," which would integrate all of the information on immigration, customs, health, and quarantine of travelers entering the Philippines.

OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said this after President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. met with the PSAC on Jan. 26, wherein they presented their "Quick Wins" recommendations to boost the country's tourism industry.

In a statement, Garafil said the application aims to allow groups or families to input data easier. The database also includes tourist destinations, transport, hotel information, and traffic condition.

Tourists can complete the form through the app before boarding or while onboard the plane if they have an internet connection.

The "e-Travel" mobile application could be deployed by February.

Meanwhile, President Marcos highlighted the importance of digitalization, which, he said, could allow tourists to fill out forms quickly while traveling.

He added that digitalization would enable authorities to ensure security at the borders.

The Quick Wins proposals aim to further boost the country's tourism industry by improving airport infrastructure and operations, managing the national brand and image, and promoting tourism investments.

The recommendations include the following:

  • The implementation of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Program for foreign tourists by 2024
  • The rollout of e-visa by 2023, prioritizing China and India
  • The removal of the One Health Pass, or requiring only one form for health, immigration, and customs
  • The revocation of outdated advisories and loud-speaker announcements in the country's airports
  • The automatic inclusion of travel tax in all airline tickets

Data showed that 2.65 million visitors entered the Philippines from February to December 2022. This figure comprised 2.02 million foreign tourists and 628,445 Filipinos overseas.

The PSAC, led by Sabin Aboitiz, President/CEO at Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., is composed of business leaders and industry experts providing technical advice to the President in achieving the government's economic objectives in six key sectors — agriculture, digital infrastructure, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs generation, and tourism.