DOT says Philippines welcomed 47,000 leisure travelers in February

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2022 04:24 PM

Foreign nationals arrive  ABS-CBN News/File 
Foreign nationals arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on Feb. 10, 2022, the first day the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Some 47,000 leisure travelers visited the Philippines in February, when the country welcomed back foreign tourists for the first time in 2 years since shutting its borders to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Thursday. 

The Philippines on Feb. 10 reopened to foreign tourists fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Between this date and Feb. 28, the country greeted 47,715 tourists. About 55 percent of them were foreign nationals while 45 percent were Filipinos, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. 

The bulk of the arrivals were from the United States, followed by Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia, she said in a televised public briefing.

Some were from Vietnam and Germany, added the official. 

"Masayang masaya kami... kasi we didn’t expect na may talagang dadating. Because normally ang dating ng mga turista usually ‘pag due term months nila or pag-school break ng mga bata," Puyat said. 

(We were really happy because we did not expect that there would be tourists. Normally they will arrive on due term months or during their kids' school break.) 

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Tourists from some 150 countries that have visa-free entry to the Philippines were allowed to enter and required to show proof of vaccination. They do not need to quarantine. 

Popular for its white sand beaches and rich marine life, the Philippines has seen a sharp drop in coronavirus cases.

Metro Manila and 38 other areas were placed under the loosest Alert Level 1 until the middle of March. 

The Philippines had 8.26 million visitors in 2019, but that fell 82% in 2020 when borders shut.

— With a report from Reuters