MANILA, April 3 (Xinhua) — More and more inbound travelers visit the Philippines after the Southeast Asian country eases entry restrictions, allowing all fully vaccinated international visitors to enter the country without quarantine.
Filipino overseas worker Eyom Rivera, his wife, and his daughter are reunited with their families in the Philippines after arriving this Friday from Dubai where they have lived for the past four years.
The family were scheduled to visit home for a wedding in April 2020, but the pandemic derailed their plan. While waiting for the travel restrictions to ease, the couple decided to marry in a civil rite in Dubai, where their daughter was born.
When the Philippines loosened the travel rules, the young couple decided to go home and share their happiness with family members living in Albay province, approximately 500 kilometers south of Manila.
The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration recorded an uptick in the arrivals of overseas Filipinos and foreign tourists since the country eased the pandemic restrictions imposed over two years ago.
“The number of arrivals gradually increased since February when the travel restrictions eased,” immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval told a virtual press conference.
Sandoval said the daily arrival was less than 5,000 before February, while the number rose to around 9,000 after the opening and further increased to 12,000 by end-March.
From April 1, the Philippines reverted to pre-pandemic immigration entry rules, allowing fully vaccinated travelers from all countries to enter without quarantine.
Sandoval said most arriving travelers are holidaying Filipinos like the Riveras, and around 30 percent are foreign nationals.
“The Koreans have been the top visitors, and those coming from the United States and Japan where many Filipinos live with their foreign families,” Sandoval said, adding the bureau expects more tourists to flock into the country this summer.
“Historically, many foreigners from colder countries visit the Philippines because of our tropical climate,” said she.
Before the pandemic struck, South Koreans and Chinese were the top visitors to the country, according to Sandoval.
“Our borders are open; more or less, we are already back to our pre-pandemic visa policies as we enter the new normal,” Sandoval said.
However, she reminded travelers to adhere to basic health protocols, such as wearing a face mask, keeping a safe distance, or avoiding crowds to be safe and healthy.
The COVID-19 infections in the Philippines continue to fall. Department of Health’s data showed average daily cases of less than 400 in the country with around 110 million population. Around 67 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated as of April 1. Enditem