MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday expressed support for government efforts to invite more overseas Filipinos to visit the country.
In a statement, Commissioner Norman Tansingco said inviting more overseas Filipinos to come home and spend their vacations in the country would have potential economic and cultural benefits, fostering stronger ties with the global Filipino community.
Tansingco said that in 2023, the country recorded a total of 12,681,231 arrivals, with a substantial number of visitors from the United States and Canada, which are key destinations for Filipino migrants.
A total of 1,186,135 Americans and 271,955 Canadians arrived in the country last year, many of which are former Filipinos and their families who spent their holidays in the Philippines.
Tansingco made the remark in response to the proposal of House Minority Leader and former BI commissioner Marcelino Libanan to lure more overseas Filipinos to visit the Philippines.
Libanan said the spending of overseas Filipinos who visit the Philippines can boost up the country’s tourism revenues and job growth to a great extent.
Tansingco reiterated that former Filipinos from non-visa required countries, together with their spouse and children who are traveling with them, get one year visa-free stay as part of their balikbayan privilege.
The BI also supports the goal of Department of Tourism to attract more international tourists, he said.
“Our focus on supporting tourism aligns with the larger goal of creating vibrant and sustainable connections with our global Filipino community,” he added. (PNA)