The Philippines is set to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries following a request by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
According to information released by the DOT on Friday, the IATF-EID “has approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries, territories and jurisdictions,” with final approval expected to be given before the end of November.
Among the 44 nations and regions currently on the Philippines’ “green list” are China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and the UAE. South Korea, traditionally the Philippines’ number one tourist source, is not on the list however the DOT recently revealed it is working on a travel bubble arrangement with South Korean officials.
DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said reopening the borders to international tourists who had received a vaccine approved by either the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization was an important step in the nation’s economic recovery.
“Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with a low infection rate will greatly help in our recovery efforts, increasing tourist arrivals and receipts among others,” she said. “This move will likewise aid in bolstering consumer confidence, which is a large contributor to our gross domestic product or GDP growth.
“Our ASEAN neighbors like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia also did the same. We believe that it is also time for us to reopen our borders for inbound tourism as a way towards full recovery.”
Puyat added that the DOT is also working on a Vaccinated Travel Lanes scheme that would allow some visitors from “yellow list” countries pending certain conditions.
The development comes as the Philippines on Sunday introduced the same alert level system recently implemented in the National Capital Region to the entire country.
The new alert level system was implemented in the NCR in mid-September, allowing for eased restrictions across large areas but with granular lockdowns put in place for towns, streets or even individual buildings of concern.