The country's upcoming reopening to foreign leisure travellers would restore jobs lost and businesses forced to shut down during the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.
Starting February 10, the Philippines will allow fully vaccinated international tourists from visa-free countries, provided that they present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.
To date, a total of 157 countries enjoy visa-free entry privileges to the Philippines, including some of its top tourist markets prior to the pandemic such as South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany.
"We at the DOT are very thankful to our partners in the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) for approving our proposal to allow the entry of foreign leisure travelers.
The Department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,’’ Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
"With years of coordination between national agencies, industry stakeholders, and the various local government units (LGUs) to prepare our destinations for tourism in the new normal, we are confident that we will be able to keep pace with our Asean neighbors who have already made similar strides to reopen to foreign tourists,” she added.
Upon arrival, foreign tourists must self-monitor for any sign or coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) symptom for seven days with the first date being the date of arrival. A facility-based quarantine is no longer mandatory, according to the IATF-EID.
Meanwhile, they will be required to report to the local government unit of destination upon the manifestation of symptoms.
Based on IATF resolution no 159, foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the country, provided that their passports are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival, and they possess outbound tickets to their country of origin or next country of destination.
They must carry "proofs of vaccination" against Covid-19 that are recognized by the IATF-EID. They include certificates of vaccination issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), VaxCertPH of the Department of Health, and a national/state digital certificate of a foreign government that has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF.
Children below 18 years of age are exempted from the requirement of full inoculation and providing proof of vaccination status prior to boarding.
The Philippines was originally set to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from green list countries/territories/jurisdictions last Dec. 1, 2021, but was temporarily halted due to the threat of Omicron variant.
In a separate announcement, the IATF-EID suspended the green, yellow, and red classification for countries beginning Feb. 1, 2022.
Also starting Feb. 1, fully-vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos will no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before arrival.
"We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus. We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments,” Romulo-Puyat said.
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