Foreign nationals who have received their booster shots against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are now allowed to enter the country, a Bureau of Immigration (BI) official said Saturday.
Travelers from other countries are now allowed to enter the Philippines without presenting a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result, so long as they have completed their vaccine shots, BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval said.
“Well, it’s good news, our travel restrictions have been loosened further. So, the addition of this, the new update, for those who are fully vaccinated foreign nationals – meaning they already have the primary series – their first and second dose – they are exempted from presenting the RT-PCR prior to departure from their country of origin if they already have a booster,” Sandoval said at a Laging Handa briefing.
She noted that the new guidelines would encourage more foreigners to visit the country.
“If they have booster shots – first and second dose plus booster shot – they are exempted (to present RT-PCR). This is a big thing to really encourage these foreign nationals, our compatriots who already live abroad to come home and visit here in the Philippines,” she added.
On the other hand, Sandoval reported that the country has yet to reach the pre-pandemic number of tourist arrivals but is slowly gaining momentum.
“Well, our daily arrivals, it’s a mix of Filipinos and foreign nationals. On average, we play around 15,000 arrivals per day. It’s still a bit far from our usual pre-pandemic arrivals,” she said.
The highest number of tourist arrivals recorded in 2019 was about 45,000 per day.
“But we are a bit hopeful. We remain hopeful even though the figures are still like this. We have not yet reached the pre-pandemic numbers but we can see that the number of tourists has really increased,” she said.
“When we slowly eased travel restrictions since February, our daily arrivals were just around 4,000 to 5,000 per day. Now that has increased to 15,000 per day – a little bit far from our pre-pandemic figures, but we’re getting there.” (PNA)