The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday welcomed nearly 200 Chinese tourists into the Philippines, following the easing of outbound travel restrictions in China.
DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian personally welcomed around 190 visitors from the Chinese city of Xiamen upon their arrival at NAIA Terminal 1 at 4:55 p.m.
The welcome ceremony included lively music from a Filipino bamboo orchestra and gifts from the DOT, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Embassy of China in the Philippines, and a Filipino-Chinese private stakeholders organization.
“Here people are so kind and so lovely,” a Chinese passenger said in Raffy Tima’s “24 Oras” report on Tuesday.
“The arrival of Chinese tourists to the Philippines signals a very auspicious start to the New Year,” Frasco said.
“We anticipate even more Chinese tourists to arrive, which will greatly help us in our efforts to transform and recover the tourism industry as our intention is not only to regain our pre-pandemic numbers but to exceed it, knowing how the relationship between the Philippines and China will only further improve in the years to come with the stance of both our governments,” she added.
The DOT said that China ranked second to South Korea in the number of visitor arrivals in 2019, with 1.7 million out of that year’s 8.26 million all-time high international visitor arrivals total.
In 2022, around 40,000 Chinese passengers arrived in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on current protocols, foreign travelers who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to present a negative pre-departure antigen or RT-PCR test result before travel or upon arrival in the Philippines.
“Whether it's COVID-19 or any other virus or illness, health concerns are quite common in any country including the Philippines. The important thing is that our government continues to observe minimum health standards, at the same time ensuring to strike a balance between protecting the public health as well as promoting livelihood,” Frasco said.
The DOT secretary said the early batch of Chinese visitors made the Philippines the latest country to welcome their return after China lifted restrictions to outbound travels of its nationals.
“Such a move is seen to positively impact economies as China remains one of the world’s top sources of foreign tourists with high visitor spending,” she said.
For his part, Xilian said the tension in the West Philippine Sea will not hinder the implementation of agreements between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos during his recent state visit to China.
“We believe that with the development of our tourism cooperation that there will be a growing number of Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines to enjoy the beauty of this country,” Xilian said.
“...[B]oth presidents of China and the Philippines have agreed to make people-to-people exchanges as one of the four areas of cooperation and of course during the visits, our tourism cooperation was actually signed so I think that today's event is also one of the measures to implement the agreement reached by our two leaders,” he added.
According to the DOT, China earned 10th spot in terms of international tourist arrivals with 6,673 visitors with almost half or 45.68% visiting the country for holiday or pleasure as of January 23, 2023. — BM, GMA Integrated News
This article DOT welcomes Chinese tourists to PH as China eases outbound travel restrictions was originally published in GMA News Online.2023-01-24T15:02:17Z dg43tfdfdgfd