Tourist arrivals surge but still off 2019 level | Inquirer News

Tourist arrivals surge but still off 2019 level

Tourist arrivals on Boracay Island start to pick up again after quarantine restrictions were relaxed as COVID-19 infections continue to decline. STORY: Tourist arrivals surge but still off 2019 level

PICKING UP | Tourist arrivals on Boracay Island start to pick up again after quarantine restrictions were relaxed as COVID-19 infections continue to decline. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Daily tourist arrivals have increased significantly but are still some ways off the prepandemic level, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Saturday.

“Our average is about 15,000 arrivals per day,” Dana Sandoval, spokesperson for the BI, said during the Laging Handa briefing, but the figure was still far from the 45,000 daily tourist arrivals in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed travel and tourism activities.


She, however, remained hopeful that daily tourist arrivals will continually increase after the government eased travel restrictions.


“Our daily arrivals were just around 4,000 to 5,000 per day, but now it has increased to 15,000 per day — still a little bit far from our prepandemic figures, but we’re getting there,” she said.

While the dry season has ended in the Philippines, she said the further easing of travel restrictions that Malacañang announced on Friday should encourage more tourists to visit the country.

The Department of Health (DOH) explained that primary COVID-19 shots and boosters will provide sufficient protection against symptomatic and severe infection for international travelers coming to the country.

“Scientific evidence shows that vaccination and boosters protect against both symptomatic and severe COVID-19 … vaccination (full primary series and boosters) plus implementation of minimum public health standards are strictly enforced during international travel,” the DOH told reporters in a Viber message when asked about the latest travel protocols.

New guidelines

“These considerations are part of the inputs provided by DOH and health experts on predeparture testing requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted inbound travelers,” it added.

The health department was explaining why it gave the nod to the scrapping of pre-departure testing requirements that was included in the May 26 guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).


Starting May 30, foreign and returning Filipino travelers who are fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot will no longer be required to present a predeparture negative test result when they arrive in the country.

The new guidelines cover fully vaccinated minors ages 12 to 17 and those below 12 years old “regardless of vaccination status” as long as they are with their fully vaccinated parents or guardians.

It came just days after DOH pushed for heightened surveillance for new COVID-19 variants and monkeypox, which had spread to countries where the zoonotic viral disease is not endemic.

The government would implement a “four-door strategy,” including strict border controls as a “primary level of defense” and screening, testing, and quarantine of travelers with monkeypox-like symptoms.


PH scraps pre-departure RT-PCR test for fully vaxxed, boostered tourists

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