Singapore, Feb 10 (EFE).- The Philippines began its quarantine-free travel scheme Thursday for vaccinated tourists from 157 countries, after almost two years of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country will begin receiving foreign tourists as long as they are vaccinated against the virus and present a negative PCR test carried out 48 hours before departure.
The list includes the United States, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, which are among the top 10 markets in the tourism sector for the Philippines.
However, China – the country with the highest Philippine tourism growth in recent years – is not on the list, neither are Taiwan and India.
The country, with a vaccination rate of 54.9 percent, according to Our World in Data, will bar the entry of unvaccinated foreign travelers – who were previously allowed in with quarantine – from Wednesday.
The Philippines had made attempts to open late last year, which it eventually suspended due to the impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The government’s objective is to revive tourism, which in 2019 represented 11 percent of GDP and fell from 8.2 million foreign visitors that year to 1.48 million in 2020.
The archipelago follows in the footsteps of neighboring countries and places such as Singapore, the Indonesian island of Bali and Thailand, which started a program without quarantines for vaccinated people on Feb. 1 that requires several tests before and during the trip.
The Philippines, which in recent months has been relaxing movement restrictions, is the second country most affected by Covid-19 in Southeast Asia, behind Indonesia, with 3.62 million infections and more than 54,000 deaths.