Philippines reopens Feb 10 for the vaccinated from most countries

PHOTO: The Philippines is reopening to vaccinated travellers from most countries. (visa Reuters)

After nearly 2 years of closed borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines plans on reopening to some fully vaccinated tourists on February 10. Officials made the announcement today that travellers from most countries will finally be allowed to enter, after plans to reopen on December 1 were scrapped due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

The announcement to reopen will allow fully vaccinated travellers from 157 countries who were previously permitted to enter the country without a visa before the pandemic to resume travel to the Philippines from February 10. Unlike Thailand’s complex relaunch of the Test & Go reopening scheme, The Philippines reopening plan does not involve any sort of quarantine and only requires a recent negative Covid-19 test before travelling to the country.

Noticeably missing from the list are tourism heavyweights China, India and Taiwan. Like Thailand, Chinese tourists are the fastest-growing demographic in the Philippines tourism sector. Most of the other countries of origin that make up the Philippines top 10 demographics will be able to enter though, with the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea all on the list of permitted countries.

Unvaccinated travellers from any country will be fully banned on February 16 from entering the Philippines.

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While many countries are opening up because their infection rates have gotten so low, the Philippines has a different approach, as Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire explained. The country recognised that its domestic transmission rate was higher than many other countries, so it made no sense to restrict travellers from those safer countries from entering the Philippines.

About half of the 110 million people in the Philippines are fully vaccinated and the country has had over 53,000 fatalities due to Covid-19. 3.4 million people have been infected in the country since the start of the pandemic.

The Philippines has been economically ravaged after international tourism was shut down, then stringent restrictions were put in place even for travel throughout the country. Before Covid-19, nearly 13% of the country’s gross domestic product was from tourism. But international arrivals fell 82% in 2020 to just 1.48 million people, and the sector made up just 5.4% of the GDP.

Things only got worse last month with the double whammy of the Omicron variant outbreak around the world and domestically as well as the super typhoon that rampaged through the country that levelled many homes and businesses across the country, including popular tourist where bars, restaurants, and even resorts were destroyed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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