Tourism and travel is a bright spot in the economy of the Philippines, the largest archipelago of more than seven thousand islands, as it contributed Philippine Pesos 3.35 trillion in 2017. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), it amounts to 21% of the country’s GDP comes from the tourism and travel industry. Besides the abundant natural beauty that engrosses travelers, the erstwhile Spanish colony enjoys rich historical heritage marked by Asian, American and European influences.
International travelers are taking a special interest in the country as evident from the highest number of visitors touring the Philippines in 2018 that touched an all-time high of 7.1 million tourists. This happened despite the closure of the flagship tourist destination Boracay that has brought into focus the secondary tourist spots and augurs well for the country’s economic future. The growth rate of Philippines in tourism is higher not only in comparison to the average Asian growth but also the world average tourism growth.
No Visa required
To encourage tourism, the government allows tourists to travel to the country and stay for 21 days without a visa. However, they must have a valid passport for at least 6 months and a return ticket to any place outside the archipelago. Those wishing to extend their stay beyond the visa-free period must either apply for it before the tour through the Philippine Consulate or Embassy of their country or if they want an extension while on tour they must obtain it from the Bureau of Immigrations of Philippines.
To encourage tourism, the government allows tourists to carry an unlimited amount of foreign currency along with personal duty-free baggage, two tins of pipe tobacco or cigarettes and maximum a liter of alcohol. Any antiques procured during the tour must have a certificate issued by the National Museum to allow visitors to carry it back to their country. However, you cannot take back along with you more than PhP 5,000.
The facility of changing foreign currency is available at the hotels, and banks as wells as in authorized money exchanging outlets and large departmental stores. Trying to exchange foreign currency at any other places is illegal and could land you in trouble. Therefore, check the authenticity of the money exchanger before going ahead with any transaction.
Airport fees and travel tax
Travel tax is payable by the Philippine nationals every time they leave the country but is not applicable for US nationals. However, they along with Green card holders must obtain a Travel Tax Exemption Certificate issued by the Philippine Tourism Authority. However, payment of Airport terminal fees is must for all travelers regardless of their country of origin.
The travel and tourism industry of the Philippines is driving the growth of many other industries especially the real estate due to the sharp increase in demand for hotels and resorts to accommodate a large number of tourists. While Western tourists have contributed to the growth of tourism, the country depends heavily on tourists from China, Japan, and Korea which have sustained the industry for many years.