Immigration expects 30 per cent increase in arrivals as the Philippines reopens borders to tourists

Travel and tourism has employed more than 42 million people in India or accounted approximately for 8.1% of the total employment opportunities. Last year, it contributed 9.3% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and received 5.9% of total investments (Getty Images/iStockphoto). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Feb 10, 2022, Philstar. The Bureau of Immigration is expecting a 30% increase in arrivals on Thursday, the first day of the country’s reopening of borders to foreign tourists after a nearly two years closure due to the pandemic, The Philippine Star reported.

BI Operations Division chief Carlos Capulong said they are expecting up to 7,000 arrivals on February 10, a significant increase from the previous day’s record of 4,816.

The bureau said in a statement that they are projecting that most arrivals would be Filipinos, while 27% will be foreign nationals.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said they expect that among the first wave of tourist arrivals are families, loved ones and partners of Filipinos.

He added that the bureau is projecting that arrivals could rise up to 10,000 to 12,000 per day in the coming months.

“Hopefully everything goes well as we transition towards the new normal. We see this as the start of the recovery of the tourism industry which we hope will renew its vigor as in the previous years,” Morente added.

The Philippine government allowed the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from visa-free countries starting February 10, subject to the presentation of required documents that include proof of inoculation.

222 tourists so far

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during Thursday’s Laging Handa that the country and department are ready to welcome tourists in our shores.

“Since March 2020, all health and safety protocols have been implemented in all hotels. We’ve been talking to [local government units] and since 2020, we’ve been ready,” Romulo-Puyat added in Filipino.

The DOT chief said they have also ensured that tourism workers are vaccinated.

She said that they have so far recorded 222 tourist arrivals, bulk of them are from the United States, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.

Romulo-Puyat also said their earlier survey showed the tourists prefer activities and areas with open-air spaces to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

The department has created 70 tourism circuits, where attractions are not separated by long distances in an area. These include food and culinary; nature and wellness program; bike and motorcycle; and farm and agri-tourism.

Romulo-Puyat however reminded tourists to avoid crowded areas and observe health and safety protocols at all times.

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