Travellers planning to visit the Philippines have a reason to be hopeful after authorities in the Asian country said it would soon reopen to tourists.
Foreign holidaymakers will be welcome to travel to the Philippines if they have been fully immunised against Covid-19, said the government on Friday.
The news comes some 20 months after the archipelago nation first closed its borders to visitors to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Only travellers from destinations on the country's green list will be able to visit when tourism restarts, said officials.
The green list allows people to travel to the Philippines without having to undergo supervised quarantine. The list was extended last week to include 45 destinations, and the UAE and Oman were among the countries added.
Currently, travellers who are approved to fly to the Philippines and are fully vaccinated with a negative PCR result taken with 72 hours prior to departure from a country on the green list can skip managed quarantine. However, travellers must isolate at home.
Tourism Secretary Berna Ramulo-Puyat said the country's Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases “has approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from green list countries/territories/jurisdictions".
"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.
No date was given for the reopening, but a statement said it would happen "soon". No information on whether tourists would also have to self-isolate on arrival was provided.
There are 45 destinations on the most up-to-date green list for the Philippines, which came into effect on Thursday. The list includes the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and India.
Known for its idyllic beaches, marine life and tropical islands, the Philippines relies heavily on tourism and the South-East Asian country's economy has suffered under strict Covid-19 related lockdowns.
Last year, only 1.48 million tourists visited the Philippines, down from more than eight million in 2019, AFP reported.
In recent weeks, the country has recorded lower levels of coronavirus cases and ramped up vaccination rates. More than 37 per cent of the country's 110 million population are fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.