After nearly two years of nearly zero tourist arrivals and revenue, Philipines looks set to welcome international tourists again after the government on Friday introduced revised immigration entry protocols.
Tourists fully vaccinated against Covid, with the second dose 14 days before the date of travel, will no longer have to quarantine after landing here and can get visas on arrival.
The coronavirus task force "approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists" from countries with low COVID-19 cases, the ministry said, adding that guidelines must be finalised.
The Philippines, known for its diving and thousands of tropical islands, saw an 83pc drop in foreign arrivals last year, receiving nearly 1.4 million visitors, compared to nearly 8.2 million in 2019. Japan, South Korea and China are its biggest tourism markets.
It imposed some of Asia's tightest entry requirements during the pandemic and has been one of the region's worst hit countries in terms of cases, deaths and economic losses. Just over a quarter of its population has been vaccinated.
Neighbours Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have also announced various degrees of reopening in recent weeks, after progress in vaccinating their local populations.
"Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with low infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts," tourism minister, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, said in the statement.
The Philippines includes on its "green" list of approved countries Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and India, among others.
Please Subscribe and get updates in your inbox. Thank you.