MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is eyeing a shorter processing time for visas issued on arrival to Chinese travelers.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Spokesperson Bong Bengzon bared the plan to members of the Hotel, Sales, and Marketing Association on Thursday, July 5.
"DOJ (Department of Justice) Secretary Menardo Guevarra had agreed to explore the possibility of shortening the processing period of visa on arrivals for Chinese travelers," Bengzon said.
In August 2017, the Philippine government allowed visas on arrival for Chinese visitors who are part of tour groups of DOT-accredited operators and businessmen. Applications should be filed 10 days before arrival, with a visa fee of $25 (P1,336) plus a P10-legal research fee.
In a media interview, Bengzon said that they are now eyeing Chinese travelers who want to come to the Philippines.
"If you're a Chinese traveler who wanted to come to the Philippines and spot a sale [which] departure date is two or 3 days days away from now….These are the things that we have to explain to them (DOJ) but generally we just have to wait for their feedback," Bengzon said.
The spokesperson said that the DOT is looking at China and India as major markets for its plan to facilitate easier entry to the country.
He added: "We realize that partner agencies have their respective mandates with respect to border control. We have to strike an optimum balance to collectively meet our respective departments objectives."
"They are drawn to the resort destinations. That’s why Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, and Palawan are very strong destination to the Chinese. This will explain to a large extent why over the several years, we’ve had large number of chartered flights to these destinations," Bengzon said.
The DOT official said that Chinese travelers are not only from major cities in China but also from other second-tier and third-tier cities in that country.
He said personnel who can speak Mandarin are also being eyed for deployment to airports, Bengzon said.
According to Bengzon, the Chinese are the second top foreign visitors to the Philippines, next to South Korea.
Data showed that 559,289 Chinese visitors traveled to the Philippines from January to May 2018, a 43.81% increase over the previous period.
The country's friendlier ties with China under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn more Chinese tourists to the Philippines. – Rappler.com