SINCE reopening its doors to foreign tourists last month, the Philippines has seen its daily international arrivals increase by 40 percent, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The bureau said the Philippines is now seeing more than 10,000 arrivals per day for all international airports nationwide combined.

This is up from around 6,000 to 8,000 arrivals per day in the first week when the less restrictive travel rules were implemented amid the decline in new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente described the arrivals as a mix of Filipinos and foreign arrivals.

Morente now expects the arrivals to reach 12,000 per day in the summer season when foreign nationals typically descend on the country’s many island destinations to soak up the sun.

Two years after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the country to shut its borders to non-essential travel, the national government reopened the country’s doors to fully vaccinated foreign nationals last Feb. 10.

This enabled the country to immediately record an increase in international arrivals in February to 211,899 (or about 7,500 arrivals daily) from just 150,740 (or about 4,800 arrivals daily) last January.

The majority, or 154,661 of the 211,899 arrivals were Filipinos, BI Port Operations Chief Carlos Capulong said in a separate statement.

This was followed by Americans, 21,383 arrivals; Canadians, 4,026; and the British, 3,250, Capulong said.

The February 2022 arrivals was more than double the 91,000 passenger arrivals in February of 2021, Morente said.

This is still a long way back to pre-pandemic figures, however.

For the whole 2021, Morente said the Philippines saw only 1.4 million arrivals, much lower than the 3.6 million in 2020, when at least the country still had its share of foreign tourists in the first quarter of the year before the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Morente called the 2020 and 2021 figures “dismal,” saying that in 2019, or before the pandemic, the Philippines recorded some 16.9 million arrivals.

In 2018, the Bureau of Immigration recorded 15.1 million arrivals.