MANILA - The Philippines hopes to welcome all foreigners next month, the Department of Tourism said Thursday.
The country has recorded 73,178 tourist arrivals since it re-opened to 157 visa-free countries last month, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
"We’re hoping that by April we’ll be open to all foreigners. The reason why we started with visa-free countries, this was also the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Paunti-unti muna (Little by little)," she told ANC's Headstart.
"They have to open the consular offices all over the world. I hope it will be approved and we'll be able to accept by April."
The Philippines will host some 600 tourism and trade ministers and private sector executives during the World Travel & Tourism Council summit from April 20 to 22, Romulo-Puyat said.
"It’s timely because Asia is the last [region] to reopen to tourism and it starts with the Philippines," she said.
The Philippines requires fully vaccinated tourists to present only a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours before their arrival, Romulo-Puyat said.
"We're also proposing, in lieu of a negative RT-PCR 48 hours before, an antigen test within 24 hours. We wanna make it easier," she said.
"It also covers those who have recovered from COVID. With RT-PCR you can test positive for the next 3 months, negative antigen, of course from the laboratory, this can show you’re negative and recovered already for COVID."