February 25, 2024

BI hopeful in gradual increase of tourists in PH for 2022

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that the agency remains hopeful for the gradual increase of tourists for 2022, following the anticipated reopening of the country’s borders on February 10. According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, they are projecting a steady increase in the number of tourists, as the country slowly reopens for international tourism, following almost two years of imposed restrictions.

Its airport operations division reported a massive drop of arrivals in 2021, as compared to the year 2020.

“Last year we saw only 1.4 million arrivals, which is significantly lower than the 3.6 million in 2020,” said Morente. “The numbers were dismal, because pre-pandemic we were hitting 16.9 million arrivals,” he added.

Consequently, the BI reported that tourist extension applications dropped 53% in 2021.

The BI’s Tourist Visa Section (TVS) only processed a total of 111,781 applications for extension of stay of tourists, which was 53% lower than the 240,276 similar applications the office received in 2020. “The low numbers we’ve seen in the past few years has really affected the tourism and international travel sector,” said Morente. “We remain optimistic that 2022 will be a better year for international travel, especially now that we will reopen our borders.

Hopefully, little by little, international tourism regains momentum,” he added. The country is expected to open its borders on Feb. 10, initially allowing nationals of countries under Executive No. 408 visa-free entry upon presentation of required documents.