MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees the upcoming pilot of the electronic visa (e-Visa) system in China as a “game changer” that will raise the confidence of airlines and stakeholders to resume flights from various points of China to the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy and Consulates in China will soft launch the system, which eases visa processing for applicants, starting with Chinese tourists on Aug. 27.
“We are grateful that the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to implement the e-visa system will soon come into fruition with DFA’s implementation as it will surely improve the experience of inbound travelers and tourists, and have a positive impact on our international arrivals especially in the Chinese and Indian markets,” Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said Friday.
“We believe that this will also foster even closer people-to-people exchanges, cultural understanding, and vibrant tourism cooperation,” she added.
China remains as one of the most-watched outbound tourist markets. Prior to the pandemic, the DOT recorded more than 1.7 million Chinese visitors to the Philippines.
As of July 26, the agency tallied 137,822 arrivals from China, following the recent lifting of travel restrictions for the Chinese.
The DOT said the e-Visa could raise the confidence of airlines, charter operators, and travel agents to resume flights from various points in China directly to tourist destinations in the Philippines such as Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Legazpi, Clark, Laoag, Lal-lo and Manila due to the projected ease and increase in visa processing.
“Certainly, the e-visa will be a game changer in the Chinese market, which currently prefers other Southeast Asian destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia which provide landing visa to Chinese travelers thus gaining faster momentum for the tourism recovery of these countries from the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Frasco said.
“One of the foremost advantages of this initiative is the positive impact it can have on revitalizing the Philippine tourism industry.”
Last March, the DOT initiated a visa reform convergence meeting to help simplify the visa application procedures of the Philippines and help accelerate the tourism resurgence in the country, with the borders of different countries gradually being opened as the lockdown effect of the pandemic wanes globally.
It also meant to address the tourism bottlenecks brought about by bureaucratic and procedural hurdles.
Early this year, Marcos directed concerned government agencies to extend the e-Visa to certain nationalities to encourage tourists from their countries to visit the Philippines.
“The Philippines takes great pride in its diverse and captivating tourist destinations, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality,” Frasco said.
“We are confident that the implementation of the e-visa system will encourage more Chinese and new Indian visitors to explore the wonders of our archipelago, creating unforgettable experiences and lasting memories that will certainly make them Love the Philippines as a top-of-the-mind tourist destination,” she added. (PNA)