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The Philippines Reopens to Fully-Vaccinated Tourists

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 19, 2023

The Philippines Reopens to Fully-Vaccinated Tourists

Tourism in the Philippines is alive once again. The Department of Tourism (DOT) reopened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from visa-free countries on February 10, 2022. A decrease in new COVID-19 cases and lower Alert Level status encouraged the department to open the country up once more. 

“These are exciting times for Philippine tourism. We have been ready since 2020,” then Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told CNN Philippines.

Consultations Between Agencies and the Private Sector

The DOT has been consulting with several entities for months, assessing the COVID-19 situation before welcoming tourists back to the country. A reopening of borders to international tourists will also help domestic tourism.

“Extensive consultations have happened between the DOT, the IATF, and the private sector through the TCP and through some other tourism organizations in the country,” said Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jojo Clemente to CNN. “We have done our best to anticipate all kinds of situations, all kinds of things that would happen as we reopen.”

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) awarded the DOT with the use of the Safe Travels Stamp. This enables tourists to recognize destinations that meet international standards for health and safety. It will also allow visitors to confidently enjoy safe travels.

philippine tourism

Philippine Tourism Was Reeling

The entire Philippine tourism industry has suffered substantial losses since the pandemic began. An estimated Php42.9 billion was the projected revenue loss in just the period of February to April 2020. That estimate translates to USD $836 million and was made before lockdowns were implemented. Travel authorities banned tourists from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan from entering the country at the time.

The industry had lost an estimated USD $8 billion by June of 2021. The government began loosening restrictions on domestic travel. Several hotels that observed health protocols were welcoming bookings.

Low vaccination numbers at the time made even a staycation difficult. However, optimism grew at the close of 2021 as positive coronavirus cases were low and vaccine rollouts were improving. But no one was prepared for the spike brought about by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

The Omicron spike caused a tightening of restrictions even as authorities placed the NCR and other regions under the stricter Alert Level 3 status. It seems to have worked. Positive COVID-19 cases have been steadily dwindling amid more vaccinations. Children ages 5 to 11 have also begun to receive their vaccine shots.

Clemente is now hopeful that the the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will remove the Philippines from the “very high risk” classification by the end of February 2022.

“At this rate of decrease, if the trends continue, the NCR could have less than 200 new cases per day by the end of February,” OCTA Research Group fellow Dr. Guido David told CNN Philippines. A continuation of this trend will give both tourists and the Department of Tourism optimism in the reopening of borders moving forward.

A country so dependent on tourism like the Philippines undoubtedly needs good news on this front. 

Key Takeaways

The Department of Tourism is reopening Philippine borders to fully vaccinated tourists from visa-free countries. The Philippine tourism industry suffered billions of dollars in losses since the pandemic began.
Efforts to assist tourism last year by encouraging domestic tourism and travel were admirable but ultimately insufficient.
An influx of tourists will ideally bring in revenue that was lost for close to two years and continue to liven up our economy as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.

For more on Coronavirus, click here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 19, 2023

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