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No End In Sight To Philippines International Tourism Ban

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There are still no signs from the Philippines government that they are ready to reopen their border for international tourism anytime soon.

The Philippines has been under strict lockdowns for more than seven months now. In the last month, the government has slowly started easing restrictions for locals. A Tourism hotspot and tropical paradise, the Philippines has long been a favorite for divers and beach lovers.

El Nido

Current Philippine COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

The Philippines has kept the pandemic reasonably under control during the last seven months. However, it has done this by almost completely locking the country down for all foreign and domestic travel.

At this moment, travel to the Philippines is severely restricted; only the following people are allowed into the country:

  • A foreign spouse of a Filipino national
  • Anyone who acquired a resident status
  • Children of a Filipino with special needs, regardless of age
  • A minor child of a Filipino
  • Foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs, regardless of age.
  • Holders of a non-immigrant visa issued under Section 13
  • Native-born foreign nationals (Native-born visa).

The country is however easing national travel restrictions by first testing their plans in Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, and Baguio, with domestic tourists.

Boracay has been open for domestic tourism since October 1, while Bohol just opened for domestic tourism on November 15th. 

In October, Philippines One News reported that Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles stated that the focus will remain on domestic tourism for now and international tourism will come later.


“We are not yet ready to open the country to foreigners unless their travel is essential, like for work, or if they have expertise that’s needed by a company here,” Nograles said. “We are just making sure that everything is in place, everything is set before we reopen. With regard to international tourism, as I said, let’s start first with domestic and then let’s see, and then we can slowly reopen international tourism. So step by step,” he added.

Which Destinations in the Philippines Could Open First?

While nothing has been confirmed by the government, the most likely destinations to open first would be Boracay, Bohol, El Nido, Palawan, and the Mountain Province capital Baguio. 

These locations can handle and accommodate international travel connections with modern airport facilities without directing all incoming international travelers to the capital of Manila. 

The reopening to international tourists will all depend on the current easing of domestic travel restrictions and the affect it has on COVID-19 case numbers.

If all goes well, the Philippines could move forward could open select destinations for international arrivals. 

At this time, there are no confirmed plans or timelines in place from the Philippines government to reopen the borders for tourism. 

officer wearing mask in philippines

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Tuesday 9th of February 2021

i think the Phillipines should reopen for Taiwan.Singapore.Australia and New Zealand as these countries are virtually covid free so why not?

Glen D Christensen

Friday 15th of January 2021

If the Philippines stays on lock down there isn't going to be anything left to reopen. Kind of like New York and Chicago.

boyd hackenberger

Friday 23rd of July 2021

@Glen D Christensen, you have got that right