philippines reopening borders

Philippines lifts travel restrictions for foreigners, tourism remains banned

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The Philippines has just reopened for long-term visa holders. All arrivals will be subject to COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the airport. They also need to book a room at a government-approved quarantine hotel or facility where they will have to take an additional test the sixth day from the date of their arrival.

As of now, the Philippines borders remain closed for tourism and the country is under curfew and interstate travel ban.

Philippines Reopening – LATEST UPDATES

Philippines Reopening

Update – February 19

On February 19. The Phillipino government decided to open its doors to long-term visa holders. Foreign arrivals will have to undergo health protocols set by the “Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases”.

Vaccination Rollout

The Philippines hasn’t vaccinated a single citizen just yet. President Rodrigo Duterte blames the rich countries that, according to him, “bought all the supplies”. Despite that, the country is getting ready to receive its first batch of vaccines at the end of the month.  

Update – January 15

The Philippines extended the travel ban for 2 more weeks, until January 31. Travelers from more than 30 territories and countries are not allowed to enter. (Source: Reuters.com)

Update – December 20

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Minister of tourism, has said that since vaccines will still take a little longer to be ready they are looking to implement travel bubble agreements for a short-term reopening in 2021. 

As of December 20, most foreign visitors continue to be banned from entry. 

Travel Requirements   

  • Booking at an approved facility.
  • Pre-book a test for COVID-19 on arrival.
  • Agree to a 14-day quarantine.

Update – November 30 – COVID-19 situation in the Philippines

As can be seen from the data, the Philippines has had a much higher number of cases than most of the rest of Southeast Asia. 

Part of the problem is that, with so many day laborers it has been difficult for much of the population to strictly follow the quarantine orders.

The Philippines initially opened for tourists on June 1st, but…

While the government gave the provinces the green light to open for tourism on Jun. 1, 2020, provinces were reluctant to accept tourists due to Covid-19 fears. As the number of cases climbed, borders had to be close again.

Travelers need to be aware of the current quarantine status of the area they are traveling to.

Regardless of the region, all visitors and residents must comply with social distancing rules, wash their hands frequently, and wear masks.

The impact of the Coronavirus in Philippines

The CDC has ranked the Philippines as a level 3 travel risk.

As of February 19, the country has reported 557,058 cases of COVID-19 with 11,829 deaths. 

Prior to the pandemic, the Philippines was one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. Now it is in recession.

The virus’ effect on tourism is part of the problem. In 2019, over 8 million tourists came to the Philippines, and the tourist industry accounted for 13% of the country’s GDP. Almost 1 in every 7 Filipinos worked in the tourist sector.

Now with the lockdowns, many of them are out of work with no end in sight. This has motivated the government to try to open up the country, but it has been a slow process.

Why Visit the Philippines?

Beach in the Philippines

The Philippines is a wonderful place for a tropical escape. It’s warm and, with more than 7,000 islands, has miles of white sand beaches for you to relax on.

The waters are crystal clear and provide opportunities for snorkelers, divers, kayakers, and fishermen. 

Some of these locations, such as Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao, constantly make it into the top beach destinations in the world.

There are also other natural wonders, such as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. 

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the longest navigable underground river in the world. You can take a tour through a cave system filled with impressive formations.

You can also enjoy unique cuisine, vibrant local festivals, and some of the friendliest people in the world. Because the locals usually speak English, you’ll find it easy to communicate. Getting lost is not a problem, and when you stop to ask directions you may end up with an impromptu guide.

Filipinos are proud of their country and love to answer visitors’ questions.

It’s also an inexpensive travel destination. You can get a day tour for about $20 and decent meals for under $5. 

If you want to pamper yourself, however, there are many luxury resorts as well as spas that cater to tourists.

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