The Department of Tourism (DOT) expresses its satisfaction with the reinstatement of chartered flights to Boracay, the Philippines’ premier destination.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the revival of chartered flights to Boracay, one of the Philippines’ premier destinations. This marks a significant milestone in the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.

Boracay Island recently played host to 180 Chinese tourists on April 18, who arrived on a chartered OK Airlines flight from Changsha, China, to Kalibo, Aklan. Notably, this flight represents the first chartered connection from China since the international travel market reopened on January 8.

To extend a warm Filipino welcome, the DOT organized a reception for the visitors upon their arrival at Kalibo. Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed enthusiasm about the resumption of chartered flights, emphasizing Boracay’s enduring popularity among Chinese tourists. In collaboration with local government and proactive private stakeholders, she conveyed the commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism on the island.

Chinese tourists held the top spot among foreign visitors to Boracay in 2019, totaling approximately 434,175 before the onset of the global tourism slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of 2019, the Philippines had welcomed over 1.7 million visitors from China.

During a crucial meeting on March 24 involving the DOT, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Bureau of Immigration (BI), Secretary Frasco highlighted the importance of visa reforms. These reforms aim to facilitate easier entry for visitors from key source markets, such as China.

As a result of this collaboration, all Philippine Foreign Service Posts (PFSPS) in the People’s Republic of China resumed processing and issuing Philippine visas to Chinese tour groups starting April 11.

Secretary Frasco expressed the DOT’s anticipation of not only matching but surpassing pre-pandemic levels of Chinese visitors. Grateful for the support of partner agencies, especially the Department of Foreign Affairs, she stated, “We thank our partner agencies for heeding our appeal to resume the processing and issuance of Philippine visas to Chinese tour groups, shortly after we manifested the necessity of regaining China as our largest source of inbound travelers.”

Looking ahead, the DOT envisions further interventions, including the potential implementation of an electronic visa system to streamline entry for tourists. Secretary Frasco had previously conveyed the DOT’s intention to maintain strong ties with China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MOCT). The Philippines is included among the 20 nations selected for outbound tourism group tours in MOCT’s pilot areas. Currently, the DOT operates two satellite offices in mainland China, located in Beijing and Shanghai, supporting the promotion and marketing of Philippine tourism to the Chinese market.

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