200,000 tourists extend stay in Philippines-A A +A
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
MANILA -- Many foreigners, who stayed here in 2012, opted to stay longer despite the negative travel advisories and the country’s raging dispute over China islands, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.
BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said that from January to December last year the BI visa extension office processed and approved a total of 172,055 applications for extension of stay by foreign tourists.
He said the number of approved visa extensions in 2012 was 13 percent higher than the 151,913 applications for extension of stay the bureau approved in 2011.
“Our country remains a favorite tourist destination that many foreign visitors are opting to stay here longer not only for vacation or to visit our tourist attractions but also to explore business and investment opportunities,” David said.
BI visa extension office acting chief Julius Cortez explained that under the existing rules, non-visa required foreign tourists are admitted for 21 days upon their arrival in a Philippine port of entry while visa-required nationals are granted an initial stay of 59 days.
They may then apply to extend their stay for two months and every two months thereafter until they reached the maximum stay of 16 months, Cortez said.
“All of them may extend their sojourn in the Philippines before the lapse of their authorized stay so long as they do not violate the conditions of their stay and pay the required fees to the bureau,” he added.
Cortez also bared that tourist visa extensions were highest in December, August, July, and January when more than 15,000 applications were processed while the lowest was registered April when only more than 12,000 were approved.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) expected to lure as much as 4.5 million foreign tourists in 2012.
Aside from the said countries, there has also been a steady influx of nationals from neighboring countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). (SDR)