Philippines to reopen the country's borders to visitors from 44 nations.
The Philippines is prepared to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk nations, after a request to the Department of Tourism (DOT) to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
The DOT said on Friday that the IATF-EID "had authorized in principle the admission of fully vaccinated visitors from Green List countries, territories, and jurisdictions," with final permission likely by the end of November.
China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates are among the 44 countries and places on the Philippines' "green list." South Korea, the Philippines' traditional top tourist supplier, is not on the list, but the DOT recently announced that it is in the process of negotiating a travel bubble agreement with South Korean authorities.
Berna Romulo-Puyat, secretary of the Department of Transportation, said reopening the borders to foreign travelers who had obtained a vaccination certified by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization was a critical step toward the nation's economic recovery.
"Allowing travelers from green nations or areas with a high vaccination rate and a low illness rate would significantly boost our recovery efforts by increasing tourist arrivals and receipts, among other things," she said. "This step will also help to boost consumer confidence, which is a significant contributor to the growth of our gross domestic product, or GDP.
"Our ASEAN neighbors, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, took the same position. We feel it is also past time to reopen our borders to incoming tourists as a means of achieving complete recovery."
Puyat noted that the DOT is also developing a Vaccinated Travel Lanes program that would let select tourists from "yellow list" nations to enter the United States if certain requirements are met.
The development comes as the Philippines expanded the National Capital Region's newly enacted alert level system to the whole nation on Sunday.
The new alert level system was adopted in the NCR in mid-September, allowing for broader limitations but detailed lockdowns for towns, streets, and even specific structures of concern.