(SPOT.ph) Almost two years since the country closed its borders to international tourists on leisure travel, the Department of Tourism announced today, January 28, that the Philippines will start to accept fully vaccinated foreign leisure travelers starting on February 10. This came after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the proposal of the tourism agency.
"We at the [Department of Tourism] are very thankful to our partners in the [ Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] for approving our proposal to allow the entry of foreign leisure travelers. The Department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,’’ Puyat said in a press release.
This, however, covers only leisure travelers from countries whose nationals are allowed visa-free entry to the Philippines. Qualified tourists will also no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.
Here are the travel requirements for tourist arrivals in the Philippines:
- Passport valid for at least six months at the time of arrival
- Outbound tickets to their country of origin or next country of destination.
- Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (ex. Certificate of vaccination issued by the World Health Organization, VaxCertPH of the Department of Health, or a national or state digital certificate of a foreign government)
A similar decision was approved last year, which was supposed to allow entry of fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries starting December 1. This was suspended due to the Omicron variant and surge in cases.
In addition, quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos is waived starting February 10. They only need to present negative results of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.
On January 27, the Department of Health reported that there are 18,191 new cases. They also announced on Thursday that 91.29% of the COVID-19 samples tested by the Philippine Genome Center were positive for Omicron. Majority of these also have the BA.2 subvariant, which is currently on the rise in parts of Asia and Europe. It is thought to be the variant that's responsible for the most recent surge of cases of COVID-19 across the globe.
UPDATED (Janury 28, 5:30 p.m.): This article has been edited following DOT's correction on the number of hours for the RT-PCR test.