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Philippines to extend e-visa to travellers from China, South Korea, Japan and India

Philippines to extend e-visa to travellers from China, South Korea, Japan and India

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However, this will take at least a semester to develop the capability, taking into consideration the anti-fraud elements that need to be consolidated with the platform.

President of the Philippines Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has called for the extension of online visa application for travellers from China, South Korea, Japan and India, as announced by his office, Malacañang. This directive by the nation's leader was issued during his meeting with members of the Private Sector Advisory Council's (PSAC) Tourism Sector, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil has confirmed.

Garafil elaborated, "President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered government agencies on Thursday to act on the extension of e-visa for Chinese, Indian, South Korean and Japanese nationals to capture the tourism markets of these countries."

She noted that PSAC has requested to include Indian nationals in the visa-upon-arrival programme and the e-visa application, which is currently available only for Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, South Korean and Japanese nationals. 

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo, who was also present during the meeting, has affirmed his office is already collaborating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the development of the technical plans for the e-visa.

At the moment, various connectivity matters still need to be worked out with respect to the other jurisdictions that avail of the Philippine e-visa platform. As such, Garafil was cited by Philippine News Agency (PNA) as saying: "It will take at least a semester to develop the capability because there is so much anti-fraud element that needs to be consolidated with the platform, and the various countries that will be connecting with the system and with the transactions."

In the meantime, the DFA has a programme for certain Chinese nationals who could avail of the visa-upon-arrival. Other foreign nationals, including Americans, Japanese, Australians, Canadians and Europeans, may also get a 14-day visa upon arrival.

Based on data released by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the Philippines welcomed around 2.65mn visitors, comprising 2.02mn foreign tourists and 628,445 Filipinos overseas from February to December 2022. The latest figure is higher than the 2021 tourist arrivals of 163,879 but still lower than the pre-pandemic level of 8.26mn.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is expecting around 4.8mn tourist arrivals in 2023, which could generate PHP2.58tn in revenue.

Short-term strategic recommendations

The President, Garafil said, suggested the DICT may accept India’s offer to use its application for visa requirements.

The PSAC also made "short-term" strategic recommendations, which include the improvement of airport infrastructure and operations, promotion of tourism investments and managing national brand or image. It also proposed the implementation of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Programme for foreign tourists by 2024, as well as the removal of One Health Pass (OHP) or requirement of one form only for health, immigration, and customs.

The council also sought the "automatic" inclusion of travel tax in all airline tickets and the revocation of outdated advisories and loudspeaker announcements at airports. 


All images / Shutterstock

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