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