(File photo courtesy of PAL)

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) hailed the recent increase in the latest number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country, reaching 202,700 as of April 7.

Based on the data generated from the One Health Pass that contains passenger and flight details, foreign arrivals from the United States topped the list with 43,744 visitors since the country reopened its borders to foreign leisure tourists in February.

Canada followed with 9,618; the United Kingdom with 9,315; South Korea with 8,440; and Australia with 8,212 tourists.

DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the latest figures, following the sustained reopening of borders and loosening of travel restrictions, is a good measure of the industry’s success in its preparations under the new normal.

“Our high vaccination rate among tourism workers and reported low cases around the country have helped restore the confidence of travelers to visit the Philippines during the summer season," Puyat said in a news release on Friday.

"This continued growth shall aid our stakeholders, as well as the economy, in recovering from the effects caused by the pandemic," she added.

The Philippines still has one of the simplest and most relaxed travel restrictions, according to Puyat, following the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases' (IATF-EID) move to allow the use of rapid antigen test as entry requirements for travelers on the condition that this should be administered and certified by a health care professional in a health care facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, or other similar establishments for purposes of entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.

Puyat likewise lauded the IATF-EID’s decision to expand the list of accepted and recognized national Covid-19 vaccination certificates, which now includes Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan, and Slovak Republic. (PR)