The Philippines reopened to international tourists on Thursday for the first time in almost two years, as it looks to kick-start an economy hit hard by the pandemic and the measures taken to control it.
The Philippine government said that, tourists from at least 150 countries that have a no-visa arrangement with the Philippines are now welcome, provided they are fully vaccinated and can show a recent negative coronavirus test.
Tourism secretary, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, said that reopening the sector was part of the government’s overall program to revitalize the economy, which has suffered greatly in the health crisis, despite it being slightly recovered last year.
“We haven’t had good news for a long time,” she said, adding that she was confident the change would bring back jobs and revenue lost during the pandemic.
Unvaccinated travelers will still need to check into quarantine facilities on arrival, she said, but fully vaccinated Filipino nationals and foreigners would not.
She stressed that nearly all workers in the country’s tourism sector have been vaccinated, and that her department was also helping tourism workers get booster shots.