(PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – More than 300,000 foreign tourists have visited the Philippines since the country opened its borders in February, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.

This is a significant increase in foreign arrivals, with a big spike noted this month, the DOT said in a news release.

The latest data showed a total of 319,047 inbound arrivals from February 10, the day the country began accepting fully vaccinated foreign tourists, until April 25.

The majority or 66,245 of the total tourist arrivals since Feb. 10 came from the United States. Canada and South Korea came second and third with 15,024 and 14,697 arrivals, respectively.

Australian (14,530), British (13,560), and Japanese (7,335) tourists came next on the list.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expressed her elation with the latest numbers, saying it is a welcome development as the country continued easing travel and border restrictions.

It also comes in the wake of the country’s successful hosting of the 21st Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council last April 20-22.

"The sustained growth in foreign arrivals in the country indicates the recovery of our tourism industry, and thus the country’s overall economy. With the recent holding of the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in the Philippines, the DOT is optimistic that foreign tourist arrivals to the country will pick up even more as foreigners are made aware of the Philippines as a safe and fun destination to travel," Puyat said.

Puyat said the Philippines still has one of the simplest and most relaxed entry protocols in Asia. Fully vaccinated foreigners do not need to test upon arrival or quarantine and they can also choose between an RT PCR test or a lab-based antigen test to comply with the pre-departure test requirement. (PR)