PH ready for foreign tourists, tourism board says

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2022 07:04 PM

 A resident wearing a face mask walk along a beach in Borocay on Thursday, the first day of the opening of the island to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. AFP/file
A resident wearing a face mask walk along a beach in Borocay on Thursday, the first day of the opening of the island to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. AFP/file

The Philippines is ready to accept international tourists following the approval of the national government on the reopening of borders for foreign visitors starting February 10, 2022.

Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones on Monday said although they were surprised by the decision, they are happy the tourism industry in the country can finally rise again amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Over the past 2 years, they have created programs to help tourist sites prepare for the possible reentry of international travelers.

"We took the pandemic pause as an opportunity na talaga maisaayos ang products sa various regions. Kaya yung na validate na 79 circuits, it is safe to say na they are ready to receive visitors," Velasco-Allones said.

She added they have launched several programs to help uplift the industry such as the shift to smart tourism as they move some marketing and promotions in the digital sphere. 

They are also pushing for the "Safe Bangon Turismo" by putting by tourist concierge in various tourist sites and putting up standardized signs. All these can help the incoming visitors from across the world.

The Department of Tourism is also collaborating with various agencies to simplify the process of travel entries to various regions. 

Velasco-Allones admitted that because of the different alert levels in place in the provinces, it may be confusing for some foreigners. They have put in place measures to give proper information to visitors.

The TPB said they are updating the Travel Philippines Hub app to give updated information and travel requirements per province. They also hoped that travel agencies must also know updated data to help inquiring tourists.

"That app actually helped. it become the reference, go to for information and updates. Ina-upgrade siya ngayon and also being enhanced," Velasco-Allones said. She added, "We are engaging the tour operators and travel agencies kasi even before the tourists would come and book, make their bookings, dapat maalam sila ano mga requirements na kailangan ma meet on the ground para maensure natin na seamless pa rin ang travel when they arrive here. Sabi namin, wag kayo mag offer na hindi pa bukas."

Tourism Asec. Howard Lance Uyking also said, "We would be meeting with DILG and of course our local government units to further streamline the process and make it more convenient especially for foreign tourists this coming Feb. 10."

The COO of TPB revealed that the new guidelines is a great opportunity for the country's tourism industry to grow once again. Many foreign tourists are expected to arrive this year because of several tourism events lined up. 

The World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit will happen in April in Metro Manila. The TPB is expecting hundreds of foreign delegates to attend. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will also resume the race this March in Subic. It was cut short when the pandemic started in 2020.

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