MANILA-- The Department of Tourism (DOT) is seeking to facilitate the visa upon arrival (VUA) processing for Chinese and Indian tourists.
"Right now, the two major markets that we have to really look out in terms of facilitating entry are China and India," Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said on the sidelines of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association membership meeting on Thursday.
Bengzon said the DOT will leave the decision up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its offices.
"We realize that the partner agencies have their respective mandates with respect to border control. We have to strike an optimum balance so that they're able to collectively meet our respective departments objectives," he said.
India passport holders with valid visa to the United Kingdom, Japan, United States and Singapore are the ones allowed VUA in the country. While not all Indian tourists benefit the VUA scheme, this, in essence, is considered an "important development" for the tourism industry, said Bengzon.
For Chinese market, the fastest growing population of tourists in the country, the official said DOT is already in talks with the DOJ to "gradually make easier" their visa processing.
"If you're a Chinese traveler who wanted to come to the Philippines and spot a sale but departure date is two or three days away then you lose out. These are the things that we have to explain to them (DOJ) but generally they welcomed it, we just have to wait for their feedback," he said.
Last month, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat hosted an inter-agency meeting at the DOT office with several cabinet members, including Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara.
Latest data on international tourist arrivals showed China, while still second to South Korea as top tourist market, posted a 43.81 percent growth rate from January to May 2018.
Bengzon said the traffic is not only coming from the major cities in China but also from the second-tier and third-tier cities in the Asian country.
The agency earlier expressed hopes that Chinese tourist to the Philippines may reach 1.5 million by end of 2018. (PNA)