Those flying in from low-risk countries may be able to visit as soon as December if all goes to plan.
The last major Southeast Asian country to plan a partial reopening to foreign travelers has finally broken its silence. The Philippines’ Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced on Friday that the national Covid-19 task force had “approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists” from countries and territories on the “green list.” The list is updated by Philippine health authorities every two weeks, and encompass places deemed to have a low risk of coronavirus transmission based on their latest infection rates. Detailed guidelines on the reopening still need to be worked out ahead of their final approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force, and these are expected to be released by the end of this month.
Incoming travelers will need to be fully inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines that are either recognized by the WHO or authorized for emergency use by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration. The latter include those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Chinese pharmaceutical companies Sinovac and Sinopharm. Russia’s Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines, as well as the Indian-made Covaxin and Covovax jabs, have also been granted approval.
The Philippines received only 1.48 million tourist arrivals in 2020, just under 18 percent of the 8.26 million recorded the previous year. Romulo-Puyat said the partial reopening was inspired by the actions of other Southeast Asian countries. “Our ASEAN neighbors like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia also did the same. We believe that it is also time for us to reopen our borders for inbound tourism as a way towards full recovery,” she added.
The latest batch of green list countries and territories, effective until November 30, is as follows:
|Federated States of Micronesia|
|Northern Mariana Islands|
|Middle East and North Africa||Kuwait|
|United Arab Emirates|
|Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)|
|North and South America||Falkland Islands|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon|