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Philippines hinges tourism revival on South Korea, returnees

The Philippines is banking on its returning citizens and a planned travel bubble with South Korea to revive its pandemic-hit tourism sector, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Thursday, as the Southeast Asian country remains closed to visitors.

It is in talks with its top market South Korea to welcome tourists on board chartered flights, Puyat said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Ingles. The two countries are ironing out quarantine requirements for these tourists upon return to South Korea, she said.

The Philippines also plans to further ease quarantine rules for returning citizens who can also help boost domestic travel, Puyat said. Domestic tourism, which has driven the sector even pre-pandemic, has shown signs of revival, with travelers from the capital now visiting tourist spots as movement curbs are eased and vaccines are rolled out, she said.

Lagging its neighbors in easing travel curbs, the Philippines remained at the bottom of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking last month as infections declined across the region. Thailand and Indonesia have reopened tourist spots to foreign visitors, while Malaysia and Singapore will soon allow quarantine-free entry for the fully-vaccinated. — Bloomberg

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