Philippine tourism

‘We miss you’: Philippines wants Koreans back for tourism

Aika Rey
‘We miss you’: Philippines wants Koreans back for tourism

PROMOTING TOURISM. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat (fifth from left) in Seoul, South Korea.

Philippine Department of Tourism

'The Philippines would certainly be more fun if you come and visit us,' Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat tells Korean tourism stakeholders

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) courted Korean tourism stakeholders in a bid to grow the market after Manila closed its borders for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat met with Korean government officials, travel stakeholders, and representatives from the aviation industry from March 28 to April 1.

“The Philippines is more than ready to welcome our Korean tourists. Our entry requirements are one of the safest and most relaxed in Asia,” said Puyat during a briefing on Wednesday, March 30, as sent to reporters on Monday, April 4.

“We have missed you; our destinations have also missed you, and the Philippines would certainly be more fun if you come and visit us.”

Puyat also told Korean tourism stakeholders that the Philippines has started its rollout of COVID-19 booster shots for tourism workers.

According to the Philippine DOT, the vaccination rate for tourism workers has already reached 97%.

“It is understandable that some may still be reluctant to travel amid the pandemic, but let me reassure you that the Philippine government and tourism industry have instituted measures to keep everyone safe,” Puyat added.

Puyat said a total of 112 new tourism circuits were developed during the pandemic. These include products and activities related to culinary, history, nature, wellness, and farm tourism.

Around a hundred others are being developed, according to the tourism chief.

Before the pandemic, South Korea was among the Philippines’ biggest sources of foreign tourist arrivals. In 2019, close to 2 million Korean tourists visited the Philippines. 

The Philippines reopened its borders to tourists, regardless of nationality, last Friday, April 1.

Fully vaccinated foreign tourists with a negative swab test result 48 hours before their flight will no longer have to undergo quarantine or swab testing upon entry. Unvaccinated children below 12 years old may travel with their fully vaccinated parents. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at