The Philippines will soon accept fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries once guidelines are approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Friday, Nov. 19.
In a DOT news release, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the proposal to open leisure travel to tourists coming from Green List countries will be based on "strict conditions."
Only fully inoculated tourists with vaccines recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under emergency-use authorization will be allowed to enter the country, Puyat noted.
An inter-agency Special Technical Working Group on Travel was tasked to come up with tourist guidelines upon approval by the IATF.
“Allowing tourists from green countries or territories that have the majority of its population vaccinated and with low infection rate, will greatly help in our recovery efforts… increasing tourist arrivals and receipts, among others. This move will likewise aid in bolstering consumer confidence, which is a large contributor to our gross domestic product or GDP growth,” Puyat said.
Puyat said it’s “time for us to reopen our borders for inbound tourism as a way towards full recovery,” noting that ASEAN countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia “also did the same.”
The Green List countries were classified by the Department of Health (DOH) as low-risk for COVID-19.
As of Nov. 11, countries included in the Green List are American Samoa, Bhutan, Chad, China (Mainland), Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Federated States of Micronesia, Guinea, Hong Kong (SAR), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The government has been easing lockdown restrictions in various areas in the country as the number of COVID-19 infections continues to go down. On Nov. 16, the country logged a total of 849 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest this year.