The Philippine task force in charge of the nation’s Covid-19 response has “approved in principle” the entry of tourists from countries deemed low risk for spreading infection, provided the people concerned are fully-vaccinated against the virus, according to a Friday announcement by the Philippine Department of Tourism.
A total of 44 places – including mainland China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Japan, are on a ‘green’ list for entry, with the conditions of access likely to be announced before the end of this month.
Prior to the pandemic, the Philippines had been a fast growing market for overseas tourists seeking to visit its casino resorts.
In mid-October, some Manila casino resorts had confirmed their gaming operations had restarted at 75 percent capacity, amid an easing of the Covid-19 emergency in the capital.
Earlier this month, a number of casino resorts in Manila’s Entertainment City zone, said they were moving to 90 percent of pre-pandemic capacity.
Specific entry conditions for such international tourists are still to be finalised and approved by the the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the tourism department said.
“Allowing tourists from ‘green’ countries or territories that have the majority of the population vaccinated and with low [Covid-19] infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts – increasing tourist arrivals and receipts,” said the Secretary of Tourism, Berna Romulo-Puyat, in prepared remarks included in the Friday announcement.
Ms Puyat was also quoted saying, referring to a club of Southeast Asian countries: “Our ASEAN neighbours 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.”
The Philippines classifies countries or jurisdictions as either “green”, “yellow”, or “red”, mainly based on their respective Covid-19 infection rates, and case counts. The “green” tier is recognised as having the lowest risk. Currently, that tier includes several Asian locations, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, India, and Indonesia.
The Department of Tourism also hopes to let in Covid-19 vaccinated tourists from “yellow”-list countries. They would be subject to “certain restrictions and strict conditions”. A programme to form and implement those safeguards is still being worked out, according to the department’s Friday statement.
(Updated, Nov 22 9.28am)
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