DFA resets visa targets as China tourists dwindle | Inquirer News

DFA reassessing visa targets as China outbound tourists dwindle

/ 07:31 PM February 07, 2024

PHOTO: Department of Foreign Affairs STORY: DFA reassessing visa targets as China outbound tourists dwindle

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) admitted on Wednesday that it would have to reassess its targets for 2024 due to the unexpected decline in China’s outbound travelers last year.

The DFA, along with the Department of Tourism (DOT), said in March 2023 that it is targeting to make it easier for tourists from China and India to travel to the Philippines, setting an initial target of 1.8 million visas issued to Chinese citizens for the year.


This translates to 6,818 visas issued a day which, the DOT previously said, is not far from the pre-pandemic figure of 1.5 million visas issued in a year.


But in a press conference at Parañaque City on Wednesday, Tourism Undersecretary Jesus Domingo bared that DOT targets were skewed by the decrease in Chinese nationals visiting the Philippines in 2023, prompting them to reassess their goals.

“In terms of specific targets, these are very fluid. Because on one hand, Chinese outbound tourism has itself declined and […] we need to vet carefully,” Domingo explained, saying that China is instead focusing on improving its domestic tourism.

“I think at this point we are in the process of reexamining specific targets,” he added.

According to the World Tourism Alliance’s market sentiment report issued in September 2023, outbound tourists from mainland China only reached 40.3 million, compared to 154.6 million in 2019.

Most PH visas issued

Despite this decline, Philippine foreign service posts in Chinese provinces remain among the posts that issued the most number of Philippine visas in 2023.


According to the DFA, its service post in Guangzhou issued the most visas last year with 37,124.

This was followed by Shanghai with 36,540 and Beijing with 29,867.

The DFA said that in 2023 alone, it released a total of 217,265 Philippine visas worldwide – a lot more than it was able to issue in 2022 (82,260).

The Philippine e-Visa system for Chinese nationals, however, was put on an indefinite suspension due to complications in payment methods, the DFA said.

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TAGS: Chinese tourists, Department of Foreign Affairs, visa

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