MANILA – Finally, the hard work of the Department of Tourism has paid off with the issuance of Department of Justice Circular no.51 granting Visa-On-Arrival (VOA) to mainland Chinese tourists.
The VOA status for PROC nationals will apply to all arrivals at Philippine international airports in Manila—Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Bacolod-Silay—and seaports of Manila, Subic, Laoag, Puerto Princesa, and Caticlan. The VOA zeroes in on both air arrivals and the burgeoning cruise market, a rising industry in China and the rest of the region.
In a statement by DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said she believes that this will serve as an incentive to Chinese guests who may be prospective investors wanting to prove that the country is not only a safe haven for tourists but also a lucrative business location as well.
During the press conference yesterday, Undersecretary for Administrative and Special Concerns Rolando Canizal said, “We hope this policy will enable the Philippines to reach the target 1 million visitors promised by the Chinese ambassador to DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo,” said Canizal.
Presently, China is the third top source of tourist arrivals in the country after the United States and Japan. With this development and China having 120 million outbound tourists, it is expected that the Chinese will reach number one rank in no time.
With the lifting of Beijing’s travel restriction against the Philippines, Chinese arrivals surged to 675,663 by yearend, up by 37.65 percent from 490,841 in 2015. The phenomenal increase in Chinese arrivals continued into the first half of 2017 as it jumped 33.44 percent with 454,962 visitors compared to last year’s 340,958.
According to Canizal, the result of the VOA that became effective last August 15 will initially be seen when Dream Cruises’ Genting Dream will dock in Manila and Boracay carrying tourists from Xiamen and Shanghai. Genting Dream is the first luxury cruise ship of Dream Cruises and has a full capacity of 3,400 guests and 2,000 crew.
India is another country on the radar for being granted VOA status, Canizal disclosed.
“India is the second highest in population in the world and we hope we can clear out the bottlenecks in air accessibility and visa issuance to tap on, at least, 100,000 Indian tourists,” he explained.