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Monday 31 January 2022

Philippines opens up to tourists

The Philippines is to lift its entry ban on foreign tourists after nearly two years.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the Asian nation famed for its glorious beaches will reopen to travellers from more than 150 countries visa-free starting February 10.

The move is aimed at reviving a crippled tourism industry, Travel Mole reported.

More than a million Filipinos lost their jobs in tourism during the first year of the pandemic

"We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented," Puyat said.

The government had initially planned to lift the ban on December 1 but indefinitely postponed as the more contagious Omicron variant spread.

The number of daily infections has dropped considerably in the capital in recent days, officials said.

“We’re done with border control,” Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire told a news conference, adding that government focus has shifted to preventing community transmission of the Omicron variant, which has caused five deaths in the country so far.

“We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus,” Puyat said. “We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments.”

Tourism destinations, including popular beach and island resorts liked Coron Island (above), resembled ghost towns at the height of pandemic lockdowns.

The Philippines has reported more than 3.5 million confirmed Covid-19 infections, with 53,801 deaths, the second-highest total in south-east Asia after Indonesia.

Australians are among the nationals allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a period of 30 days or less.

Image: Jessica May,

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