MANILA, Feb 22 (Mabuhay) –Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Monday said that 29,974 tourist arrivals were recorded since the Philippines opened its borders to foreign travelers on February 10 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a radio interview, Puyat said most of the arrivals came from the US, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

“As of February 19, since we opened the Philippines, we had about 29,974 tourist arrivals,” she said.

She added that 45% of the arrivals are “balikbayans”.

According to her, many major tourist destinations are requiring only proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for travelers.

Earlier, Puyat expressed confidence that this year, the tourism sector will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She pointed out that tourists were just waiting for our borders to open.

“Hinihintay lang ng ating tourism stakeholders na magbukas. Ang pagbukas kasi for foreigners means that we are going back to normal,” she added.

The Philippine government has dropped the mandatory facility-based quarantine requirement for international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

International travelers and ROFs, however, must present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin and must self-monitor for seven days from the date of arrival.

As proof of vaccination, the travelers must present either World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH, or National/State digital certificates from foreign governments which also accept VaxCertPH in a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases .

Starting February 10, 2022, foreign nationals from non-visa countries who are fully vaccinated were allowed to enter the Philippines.

Foreigners should be holders of passports valid for at least six months at the time of arrival, and with return or outbound ticket to their country of origin or next country of destination. (MNS)

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