Philippines to open to fully vaccinated tourists from February

The country’s tourism secretary hopes the move will revive the flagging travel industry

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 31 January 2022 11:44 GMT
St Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv
St Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

The Philippines will reopen to fully vaccinated holidaymakers from February.

Fully jabbed travellers will be welcome in the southeast Asian country from 10 February, as the archipelago aims to revive its battered tourism industry.

Tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the country will reopen its doors to travellers from more than 150 countries, with visa-free privileges.

She added that the move would hopefully help to restore jobs and businesses in tourism-dependent communities that were adversely affected throughout the pandemic.

Foreign travellers will no longer be required to quarantine in government accommodation upon arrival if they have been fully vaccinated and can provide evidence of a negative PCR test taken within the 48 hours prior to arrival.

Visitors must have outbound tickets to their country of origin or next destination upon arrival into the Philippines, and passports must also be valid for at least six months at the time of arrival.

The Filipino government had initially hoped to lift the travel ban at the beginning of December, but were forced to postpone the move and introduce tighter domestic restrictions due to rising Omicron cases.

Around 200,000 British nationals visited the country in 2018.

With more than 7,000 tropical islands, the country offers tourists idyllic beaches, unique culture and excellent diving opportunities.

According to tourism consultancy firm Pear Anderson, the Philippines is the southeast Asian country that’s most dependent on tourism, which accounts for a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Out of a population of around 111 million, more than one million Filipinos lost their jobs in tourism in the first year of the pandemic alone, according to government statistics.

The country, which currently has the second-highest Covid-related death rate in southeast Asia, implemented a controversial new “no vax, no ride” policy on public transport in the capital of Manila earlier this month.

The ban has been widely criticised by some human rights groups who claim that the ban will impact the poorest citizens most, who lack access to private transportation.

Around half of the country’s residents are fully vaccinated. In the Manila region, the rate is higher, at nearly 70 per cent.

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