THE PHILIPPINES has admitted more than 300,000 foreign visitors since reopening its borders on Feb. 10, according to the Department of Tourism.

“From Feb. 10 to April 25, we surpassed the 300,000 mark. We received about 313,050 international arrivals,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday. 

According to Ms. Puyat, the leading country of origin for such visitors was the US, followed by Canada and South Korea.

“In terms of pre-pandemic levels with regard to international tourist arrivals, we are still far off because in 2019, we received 8.26 million tourists. But we are happy with the current levels,” Ms. Puyat said.    

“We are happy that we are slowly getting back to normal. But we still really have to follow minimum health and safety protocols,” she added.  

On Feb. 10, the Philippines started admitting nationals who do not require a visa to enter the Philippines. Starting April 1, borders were opened to all nationalities. 

Recently, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that the Philippine tourism industry contributed $41 billion to the economy in 2021, up 129.5% from 2020 levels.  

“Our expert analysis shows that the economy has turned a corner and is firmly on the road to recovery,” WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer Julia Simpson said in a recent briefing. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave