Immigration: Daily arrivals peaked at 15K, far off pre-pandemic levels despite eased protocols

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2022 03:01 PM

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MANILA – The country's average daily arrivals have "plateaued" to 15,000, even if government loosened travel restrictions in recent months, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Saturday.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the recent figures consisted of foreigners and Filipinos. In an interview on TeleRadyo earlier in the day, she said this has been the average since the Holy Week or early April. 

"Ang totoo niyan malayo pa rin ito sa usual arrivals natin pre-pandemic. Noong 2019, ito ’yung panahon na pinakamataas na bilang ng dumadating sa bansa ang average natin is 45,000 arrivals per day," Sandoval said in a televised briefing. 

"Noong summer nakita natin na ’yun ang pinakamataas ... Sa obserbasyon natin nitong nakaraang linggo at nag-plateau na to 15,000 arrivals."

The country's COVID-19 task force this week approved lifting pre-departure novel coronavirus tests to all inbound travelers fully vaccinated and already got at least one booster shot. 

Only unvaccinated, partially vaccinated travelers, and those without boosters will be required to present negative RT-PCR or laboratory-based antigen test results, according to Malacañang. 

Because of this, Sandoval remained optimistic the number of inbound travelers would further increase under revised travel rules.

"We remain hopeful kahit ganito lang ’yung figures, hindi pa po niya nararating ang pre-pandemic numbers dahil nakita natin na umangat naman ’yung bilang ng mga turista na dumadating sa bansa mula noong dahan-dahan tayong nagluwag sa travel restrictions mula noong Pebrero," she said.

The country reopened its borders in April to all fully vaccinated foreign travelers to revive the pandemic-battered economy.