The Philippines has kept its borders shut since the pandemic began, but the country’s tourism department recently announced that it will welcome back vaccinated tourists from green-list countries soon.
This post will look at what we know about the Philippines reopening and recap what other countries in Asia have reopened for tourism so far.
The Philippines Says They Will Open ‘Soon’
Last Friday, the Philippines Department of Tourism made an announcement that the country is looking to open its borders to fully vaccinated tourists “soon” from green-list countries.
There are currently 44 countries and territories on the Philippines “green list:”
American Samoa, Bhutan, Chad, Mainland China Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Federated States of Micronesia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Tourists will have to be inoculated with vaccines recognized by the Philippines Food and Drug Administration or authorized by the World Health Organization to enter.
Tourism Secretary Berna Puyat said that the government’s Covid-19 taskforce has “approved in principle” the department’s request to allow vaccinated travelers from countries with a low infection rate to enter.
No specific date for reopening has been set yet.
“There’s just a few things that we need to tweak. But the reason why we are announcing it is because we are putting the entire world on notice that we will eventually open up our shores to tourists coming from green list countries,” Nograles, acting presidential spokesman, said at a press briefing.
“It will happen soon. We are just making a few adjustments in the guidelines for tourists coming from green list countries.”
Tourism is a major part of the Philippines economy, accounting for nearly 13 percent of GDP in 2019. However, since the pandemic, numbers have fallen over 80% leaving tour operators struggling.
“Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with low infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts — increasing tourist arrivals and receipts among others,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
“This move will likewise aid in bolstering consumer confidence, which is a large contributor to our gross domestic product or GDP growth,” Romulo- Puyat added.
The tourism secretary said the approval is a “welcome development,” considering many neighboring countries have already opened their borders.
“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 said.
While the United States is not currently on the list of green-list countries, it is a hopeful sign for the recovery of tourism in the Philippines.
Asian Countries Currently Open For Tourism
For North American travelers hoping to visit Asia, here are some countries currently open or planning to open soon.
Thailand reopened to vaccinated travelers from 63 countries with only one night in isolation pending the results of a negative Covid-19 test.
See more information on Thailand’s reopening to tourism.
Cambodia dropped its quarantine on arrival for all fully vaccinated tourists as of November 15.
Singapore reopened its borders to fully vaccinated American, British, and Canadian tourists on October 19.
India has fully reopened to vaccinated tourists without quarantine after 20 months of closure, including U.S. tourists.
Bali in Indonesia is currently open for tourists from 19 nations.
Nepal reopened to some vaccinated travelers in September.
Malaysia says they will reopen borders for international tourism by January 1, 2022.
Vietnam says they will begin reopening from December 2021 with a road plan to fully reopen in June 2022.