BI: Arrivals in PH up 337%

THINGS are slowly improving on the travel front after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that arrivals in the year 2022 had more than quadrupled from the very low 2021 level.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said immigration officers processed 6,125,841 arrivals in 2022.

This is up 337 percent from the 1.4 million arrivals reported by the bureau for 2021.

The 2022 numbers are still down from the pre-pandemic 17 million arrivals recorded in 2019 but “already a major leap” from the 2020 and 2021 numbers when travel restrictions after the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 stifled travel.

Last year, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reported the arrival figures of 1.4 million in 2021, down further from the 3.6 million arrivals in 2020, calling the figures “dismal because pre-pandemic we were hitting 16.9 million arrivals.”

The Philippines reopened its doors to foreign tourists only on February 10, 2022.

Of the 2022 recorded arrivals, 3.6 million were Filipinos.

The bureau named the top travelers to the country in 2022 as passengers from the United States with 687,135 arrivals; South Korea, 448,491 arrivals; Australia, 152,476 arrivals; Canada, 141,578 arrivals; and Japan, 123,011 arrivals.

While Chinese nationals used to rank second to South Koreans in number of arrivals in the country, Tansingco said only 30,002 Chinese tourists entered the country in 2022 as travel bans amid the pandemic both in the Philippines and their home country forced many Chinese nationals to stay home.

Last month, however, China announced that it would loosen its anti-Covid-19 controls and resume issuing passports for tourism on Jan. 8, 2023.

China had stopped issuing passports to its people as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in early 2020. (CTL)