February 10, 2022, 08.44 PM

KOMPAS.com - The Philippines has lifted a nearly two-year ban on foreign travelers in a lifesaving boost for its tourism and related industries as its Omicron-fuelled Covid-19 surge eases.

From today, foreign travelers from 157 countries that have visa-free arrangements with the Philippines — who have been fully vaccinated and have tested negative for the virus — will be welcomed back and will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival.

The Philippine 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.

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She added that the border reopening would restore jobs and generate revenue across tourism-related enterprises and communities.

The Philippines imposed one of the world's longest lockdowns and strictest, police-enforced quarantine restrictions to quell a pandemic that caused its worst economic recession since the 1940s and pushed unemployment and hunger to record levels.

More than a million Filipinos lost their jobs in tourism businesses and destinations in the first year of the pandemic alone, according to government statistics.

Tourism destinations, including popular beach and tropical island resorts, resembled ghost towns at the height of pandemic lockdowns, and a volcanic eruption and typhoons exacerbated losses.

Reopening postponed

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