MNS photo

MANILA, Feb 11 (Mabuhay) — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is expecting at least a 30 percent increase in passenger arrivals as the Philippines reopened its doors to foreign travelers starting Thursday.

BI port operations division (POD) chief, lawyer Carlos Capulong, said they are anticipating some 7,000 arrivals, an increase from Wednesday’s 4,816 passenger arrivals.

He said they expect that majority of them are Filipinos, while around 27 percent are foreign nationals.

On the other hand, Commissioner Jaime Morente projected that the numbers could increase to 10,000-12,000 arrivals per day in the succeeding months.

“Hopefully everything goes well as we transition towards the new normal. We see this as the start of the recovery of the tourism industry which we hope will renew its vigor as in the previous years,” he said in a statement.

The BI chief added that they expect families, loved ones, and partners of Filipinos will be among those who will arrive on the first wave of arrivals.

“Many unmarried couples and families have long lobbied for the reopening of our borders for them to be reunited with their loved ones. We expect that some of the first to arrive here will be those who wish to be together with their families,” he added.

Earlier, the bureau announced the opening of the country to international tourism starting February 10.

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may be allowed entry subject to the presentation of required documents as set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The BI commissioner has instructed port personnel to remain vigilant and ensure only eligible aliens will be allowed entry. (MNS)

READ NEXT: Philippines reports 3,651 new COVID-19 cases; active tally down to 96K