The Philippines reopens on February 10 to vaccinated travelers from countries including the United Arab Emirates

If you dream of the tropical islands and unspoilt beaches of the Philippines, there’s good news just around the corner.

The archipelago will finally reopen to travelers next month.

From February 10, tourists will once again be welcome to explore the island nation’s lush forests, steaming volcanoes and tropical waters, but only if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The country is restarting its tourism industry nearly two years after closing its borders to foreigners.

Travelers who have received both doses of an approved vaccine and who come from one of more than 150 destinations that do not require visas are encouraged to visit next month.

Visa-free entry to the Philippines is available for those from multiple destinations including the UK, UAE, Ireland, USA, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, South Africa and many European countries.

A complete list of these destinations can be found on the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs website. Travelers are generally allowed to stay in the country for up to 30 days without a visa, with some exceptions.

What should I do before traveling to the Philippines?

Tourists wearing face masks disembark from a plane upon arrival at Caticlan Airport in Aklan Province, Philippines.  Reuters

Travelers must present a negative PCR test carried out no later than 48 hours before departure.

No quarantine measures will apply to fully stung tourists arriving in the Philippines, although all travelers should self-monitor for symptoms for seven days after arrival.

Children under 18 are exempt from presenting any proof of vaccination.

Passports must be valid for at least six months upon arrival in the Southeast Asian country, and travelers must have round-trip air tickets to their country of origin or destination.

No quarantine for vaccinated Filipinos arriving from abroad

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing hazmat suits to protect against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines January 14, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

Countries will no longer be classified using the traffic light system, Philippine authorities said at a press briefing on Friday.

From Tuesday February 1, the government’s pandemic task force has temporarily suspended the green, yellow and red classification of destinations relating to Covid-19 risk levels in each nation.

Instead, arrival and quarantine requirements for all arriving passengers, including Filipinos, will be based on their vaccination status. This is effective from Tuesday, February 1.

No mandatory quarantine will be required for fully vaccinated travelers traveling to the Philippines from any destination with a negative PCR test.

No entry yet for unvaccinated tourists

Unvaccinated tourists will have to wait before they can plan a trip to the Philippines.  Photo: AFP

Unvaccinated Filipinos returning to the country can still travel as long as they have a negative PCR test result taken no later than 48 hours before arrival, but will need to undergo at least five days of quarantine in a facility.

If a negative PCR test result is received on day five, they will be allowed to complete the remainder of the 14-day quarantine at home.

Tourists who have not been vaccinated cannot yet travel to the Philippines at this time.

The country’s tourism restart is long overdue and comes 22 months after the Asian country closed its borders to foreigners. Initial plans to reopen on December 1 have been put on hold due to the emergence and spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Known for its idyllic beaches, marine life and tropical islands, the Philippines relies heavily on tourism and its economy has suffered under strict Covid-19 restrictions.

In 2020, fewer than 1.48 million tourists visited the Philippines, compared to more than eight million in 2019, AFP reported.

Updated: January 28, 2022, 7:32 a.m.

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