MANILA – More than 200,000 international arrivals have been recorded since the country opened its borders to fully vaccinated foreigners last month, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Thursday.
In a statement, Commissioner Jaime Morente said a total of 211,899 passengers arrived last month.
“It is also more than 130% higher than the 91,000 passenger arrivals in February 2021,” he said in a statement.
An increase in tourist arrivals was also recorded in January with 150,740 compared to the previous year with only 95,592.
Morente expressed hope that the travel industry will now gradually recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“After almost two years of struggling with the effects of travel bans and border closures, it is a breath of fresh air to see bi-national families and couples reuniting again. I am confident that with our respect continued health protocols, we are slowly on the road to recovery,” he said.
Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Chief Carlos Capulong said of the more than 200,000 passengers who arrived in the country in February, 154,661 were Filipinos.
“(About) 72% of those who arrived last February were returning Filipinos. This was followed by Americans with 21,383 arrivals, Canadians with 4,026 and Britons with 3,250,” he said.
The BI official assured the public that he was ready for the continued increase in passenger numbers at airports.
“The international travel forecast is improving. We have deployed enough agents and improved our e-gate services at our international ports to ensure the efficiency of BI stations,” Capulong said.
In a Viber message, BI spokeswoman Dana Sandoval also reported that a total of 55 tourists had been barred for failing to meet the requirements of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). -EID) from February 10 to 28.
“We have seen a significant increase in passenger numbers since we opened our borders to fully vaccinated foreign nationals in February, compared to low numbers in 2021. Although we are not yet seeing pre-pandemic numbers, we are confident that this steady increase is the beginning of the recovery of the country’s international travel and tourism industries,” she added. (NAP)