Saturday, 24 March 2012 14:12
The Philippine government has approved new visa policies that will extend the visa-free stay for foreign nationals to boost the country's competitiveness as a tourism destination, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that the new policies were agreed upon by himself, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr.
"It now includes the increase in the visa-free privilege for 166 countries/territories from 21 to 30 days, granting of a 30-day visa-free stay to Chinese nationals travelling to the Philippines as part of a tour group handled by a Department of Tourism- accredited Philippine tour operator, and a 14-day visa-free stay for Indian nationals who have a valid American, Japan, Australian, Canadian, Shengen, Singapore, or United Kingdom visa," he said.
Jimenez said that the government has to address the perception abroad that it is difficult to enter the Philippines.
"With these visa reforms, we will be at par with the entry policies of our neighbors in the region and, for some markets, more liberal. This will definitely help in achieving our target of 10 million foreign visitors by 2016," he said.
Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia allow entry of nationals of most countries without a visa for stays of up to 30 days. Tourists entering Cambodia are issued visas upon arrival valid for one month, except for nationals of ASEAN countries who are allowed to enter visa-free.
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