The Department of Tourism (DOT) reported on Friday that more and more foreign tourists are now coming into the country due of the easing of travel restrictions.
The DOT said tourist arrivals as of last March 16 surpassed the 100,000 mark following the relaxation of travel protocols last February 10.
The agency cited data from the One Health Pass (OHP) that showed 102,031 visitor arrivals and described it as a high note for the country since the closure of borders at the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
“We are happy to see the gradual reopening of our borders finally bearing fruit as evidenced by the much higher foreign visitor arrivals. This will help safeguard the industry’s revival, providing more jobs and livelihoods to Filipinos in the tourism sector,” said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.
American tourists accounted for the largest tourist traffic with 22,243, followed by Canada with 4,852; United Kingdom was third with 4,386; South Korea 3,748; Australia 3,387; Vietnam 2,656; Germany 1,976; and Japan with 1,752.
Puyat cited as a positive factor for the renewed vigor in tourism traffic the various measures imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) such as the suspension of the country classification system and relaxed entry protocols for fully-vaccinated leisure travelers from visa-free countries listed under EO 408.
The DOT recently announced that the Philippines would be open to fully vaccinated travelers from all countries, as well as the resumption of visa issuances by Philippine embassies starting April 1, 2022.
Travelers were asked to submit proof of negative laboratory-based antigen test result taken within 24 hours from departure, an improvement from the previously required negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.
“Our numbers are still far from pre-pandemic levels, but we are optimistic that this will continue to increase amid the sustained decline in COVID-19 cases in the country as well as the ongoing efforts of the Philippine government to improve its healthcare capacity. On the DOT’s part, we shall continue working with the IATF, and our partners in the government and the private sector in coming up with measures that will sustain this growth,” Puyat said.