PH to implement visa reforms for tourism

Shielo Mendoza
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

The government will soon implement visa reforms to boost PH's competitiveness as a tourism destination, the Department of Tourism recently said.
 
The new visa policies will grant an increase in the visa-free privilege of 166 countries from 21 to 30 days, including a 30-day visa-free stay to Chinese nationals travelling here, and a 14-day visa-free stay for Indian nationals who have a valid American, Japan, Australian, Canadian, Shengen, Singapore, or United Kingdom visa, the DOT said.
 
“We need to address the perception abroad that it is difficult to enter the Philippines. With these visa reforms, we will be at par with the entry policies of our neighbors in the region and, for some markets, more liberal. This will definitely help in achieving our target of 10 million foreign visitors by 2016,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said in a statement.
 
Jimenez said the implementation of new policies is part of the government’s efforts to attract more foreign tourists by simplifying entry requirement procedures and processes, and allowing them more time to experience what the country has to offer.
 
The DOT noted that Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia allow entry of nationals of most countries without a visa for stays of up to 30 days. Tourists entering Cambodia are issued visas upon arrival valid for one month, except for nationals of ASEAN countries who are allowed to enter visa-free, it added.
 
Other policy reforms are currently being reviewed by a working group composed of representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Bureau of Immigration, including a special long-stay visa for active retirees, the DOT said.