FOREIGN VISITORS have totaled 517,516 as of May 25, since the reopening of borders with minimal quarantine requirements in February, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT). 

The DoT said in a statement that the US was the top source of arrivals between Feb. 10 and May 25 with 104,589, followed by South Korea with 28,474 arrivals, and Canada 24,337.

“Australian nationals, British, and Japanese were next on the list with 23,286; 20,846; and 13,373 respectively,” the DoT said.  

“Other foreign visitors during the early months of the year include Vietnamese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Italians, Irish and French,” it added.

On Feb. 10, the Philippines started accepting nationals that do not require visas to enter the country. Since April 1, borders have been opened to all nationals.  

“The DoT is looking forward to an uptick in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks following the further easing of entry requirements,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said. 

Starting May 30, the DoT said fully vaccinated and boostered inbound foreign visitors will no longer be required to have a pre-departure test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The looser entry rules are authorized by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 168.

However, the DoT said arriving passengers are still encouraged to obtain travel insurance. All types of vaccination certificates, regardless of country of origin, will also be accepted.

“Based on the resolution, the visitor must be at least 18 years old and must have received the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and at least one booster shot,” the DoT said.

“Also exempted from the pre-departure reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) requirement are foreign nationals aged 12 to 17 who have received their primary COVID-19 vaccine/s; and those aged below 12 and traveling with fully vaccinated or boostered parents or guardians,” it added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave