The Philippines Reopens to International Travelers

The Philippines this week reopened its borders to international travelers from 157 countries with visa-free arrangements. Travelers also need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and test negative before travel to avoid quarantine, according to The Associated Press. The Philippines has been closed to foreign visitors for nearly two years.

The two-year closure, according to the AP report, results in the worst economic recession for the country since the 1940s. Speaking on the reopening, however, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said, “We will begin the next chapter in the road to recovery,” adding that the move would restore jobs and generate revenue across tourism-related enterprises and communities.

Initially, the Philippines planned to reopen to travelers on December 1, 2021, but pushed the date back due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Following a peak in mid-January, health officials report that the entire archipelago, except for one southern region, is “low to moderate risk.”

According to The New York Times, 56 percent of Filipinos are fully vaccinated with 7.6 percent having received a booster dose. That said, Romulo-Puyat noted that nearly all workers in the country’s tourism sector have been vaccinated, and that her department was also helping tourism workers get booster shots. Another New York Times report mentioned that the “careful reopening of the economy” came amid strong lobbying from Romulo-Puyat.

The news from the Philippines follows that of several countries in recent weeks, including Australia, New Zealand and India—all of which announced reopening plans or lessened travel restrictions for foreign travelers.

Related Stories

Philippine Airlines Emerges From Chapter 11

WTTC: Tourism Drives Global Economy, Enhances Social Progress

Thailand Reopens Additional “Sandbox Destinations”

UNWTO, Asian Development Bank Partner on Tourism Recovery Report