Philippines travel reopens, but CDC discourages visiting

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines lifted a nearly two-year ban on foreign travelers Thursday in a lifesaving boost for its tourism and related industries as an omicron-fueled surge eases.

Vaccinated travelers from 157 countries with visa-free arrangements, including the US, are being welcomed back and no longer need to quarantine upon arrival, provided they test negative for COVID-19. The government also ended a risk classification system that banned travelers from the worst-hit countries.

“We will begin the next chapter in the road to recovery,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said. She added the border reopening would restore jobs and generate revenue across tourism-related enterprises and communities.

Less than two weeks ago, tCDC and US State Department advised Americans to “avoid travel” to the Philippines, due to high levels of COVID-19.

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Airport officials check documents of foreign passengers as they arrive at Manila's international airport Feb.  10, 2022.

“It’s just a wonderful country. I’m so glad that you’re open again,” 60-year-old British tourist Ian Collins said in the airport arrival lobby. He told the Associated Press he “absolutely loved” the Philippines and flew back to reunite with Filipino friends.

Malaysian tourist Shaun James Stickney said the pandemic separated him and his Filipina partner for two years, so he took the first flight to Manila when the Philippines reopened to reunite with her and “God willing, get married.”

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