MANILA, Apr 4 (Mabuhay) –A total of 176,857 foreign tourists have arrived in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic since it reopened its borders to all travelers both from visa and visa-free countries, the Department of Tourism said Monday.

In a radio interview, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat noted that the said tourists arrived from February 10 to April 2, with the majority coming from the United States, followed by Canada, United Kingdom, and South Korea.

“At least bukas na, ‘yun naman ang laging sinasabi ng ating tourism stakeholders. At least bukas na tayo and at least sa Asia, upon the recommendations ng ating health experts, tayo ‘yung least travel restrictions,” she said.

Last Friday, April 1, the Philippines started accepting foreign tourists, including from visa countries.

The Philippines has been open to business and leisure travelers from 157 visa-free countries since February 10.

Only fully vaccinated foreign tourists are allowed entry in the country. They are required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours prior to their trip or a negative laboratory-based antigen result taken 24 hours before departure.

Holy Week

Further, Puyat said that ahead of Holy Week, almost all resorts and hotels in various tourist destinations in the country are already fully booked.

Due to this, the Tourism chief urged the public and tourism stakeholders alike to get their primary vaccine series and booster shots, and continue observing the minimum public health standards throughout their vacation.

“Kunwari hindi pa kayo nagbo-booster, mag-booster na po kayo. Please, kahit na fully vaccinated with booster or kahit na negative kayo sa COVID, please follow minimum health and safety protocols pa rin,” she added.

The Philippines on Sunday recorded 690 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 3,679,629.

A total of 3,584,319 individuals have been counted as recoveries, while the death toll climbed to 59,343.  (MNS)

READ NEXT: NCR, 48 other areas remain under Alert Level 1 until April 15