The Philippine government has expanded visa-free privileges for 166 countries and territories from 21 days to 30 days, part of a series of efforts to boost the destination’s visitor numbers that also includes its latest marketing slogan: “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.
Other policy reforms consist of a 30-day visa-free stay for Chinese travellers in a group handled by a Department of Tourism-accredited tour operator as well as a 14-day visa-free stay for Indian nationals carrying a valid US, Schengen, Japanese, Australian, Canadian, Singaporean or British visa. As reported earlier (see story here), Chinese and Indian travellers were not granted visa-free status before and this move is expected to encourage them to travel to the archipelago.
With these changes, DOT secretary Ramon Jimenez said the Philippines would be on a par with entry regulations of regional neighbours such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, which allow nationals of most countries to visit without a visa and stay up to 30 consecutive days, and Cambodia, which issues visas valid for one month to tourists upon arrival. Nationals of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries, however, have long been allowed to enter without a visa.
Jimenez expressed optimism that these latest measures would help raise arrivals from the 3.1 million to 10 million in 2016.
For more details, visit www.tourism.gov.ph
Margie T Logarta