Philippines reopening on February 10 to vaccinated travellers from countries including UAE

Nearly two years after closing its borders, the country will welcome tourists again and is dropping quarantine for vaccinated arrivals from any destination

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If you’ve been pining for the Philippines' tropical islands and untouched beaches, there’s good news right around the corner.

The archipelago will finally reopen for travellers next month.

Starting February 10, tourists will once again be welcome to explore the island nation's lush forests, smouldering volcanoes and tropical waters, but only if fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The country is restarting its tourism industry nearly two years after it first sealed its borders to foreigners.

paraw sailboat on white sand beaches of boracay island in the philippines (iStockphoto.com)

Travellers who have received both doses of an approved vaccination and are coming from one of more than 150 destinations that do not require a visa are welcome to visit next month.

Visa-free entry to the Philippines is available to those from several destinations including the UK, the UAE, Ireland, the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, South Africa and many countries in Europe.

A complete list of these destinations can be found on the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs website. Travellers are typically allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days visa-free, with some exceptions.

What do I need to do before I travel to the Philippines?

Tourists wearing face masks disembark from a plane upon arrival at Caticlan Airport, in Aklan province, Philippines. Reuters

Travellers will need to present a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure.

No quarantine measures will apply to fully jabbed tourists arriving in the Philippines, although all travellers must self-monitor for symptoms for seven days after arrival.

Children under 18 are exempt from showing proof of vaccination.

Passports must be valid for at least six months at the time of arrival in the South-East Asian country, and travellers need to have return or outbound flight tickets to their country of origin or onwards destination.

No quarantine for vaccinated Filipinos arriving from overseas

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing hazmat suits for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines, January 14, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

Countries will no longer be classified using the traffic-light system, Filipino authorities said during a press briefing on Friday.

From Tuesday, February 1, the government’s pandemic task force has temporarily suspended the green, yellow and red classification of destinations pertaining to risk levels of Covid-19 in each nation.

Instead, arrival and quarantine requirements for all arriving passengers, including Filipinos, will be based on their vaccination status. This is effective from February 1.

No mandatory quarantine will be required for fully vaccinated travellers flying to the Philippines from any destination with a negative PCR test.

No entry yet for unvaccinated tourists

Unvaccinated tourists will need to wait before they can plan a trip to the Philippines. Photo: AFP

Unvaccinated Filipinos returning to the country can still travel so long as they have a negative PCR test result taken no more than 48 hours before arrival, but will have to undergo at least five days of quarantine in a facility.

If a negative PCR test result is received on day five, they will be allowed to complete the remainder of the 14-day quarantine at home.

Tourists who have not been vaccinated cannot yet travel to the Philippines at this time.

The restart of the country’s tourism has been long-awaited and comes 22 months after the Asian country closed its borders to foreigners. Initial plans to reopen on December 1 were paused owing to the emergence and spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Known for its idyllic beaches, marine life and tropical islands, the Philippines relies heavily on tourism and its economy has suffered under strict coronavirus-related lockdowns.

In 2020, less than 1.48 million tourists visited the Philippines, down from more than eight million in 2019, AFP reported.

Updated: January 28, 2022, 8:36 AM
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