Travel Trends

women in traditional filipino costume

What’s New for Philippines Travel in 2022

Known for its pristine white sand beaches, delicious food, and always being greeted with a big smile by the locals, the Philippines looks to re-open its borders this year to international travelers. With the daily reported COVID-19 cases drastically reduced, the Philippines have done an outstanding job controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Tourism plays a huge role in the economy of the Philippines accounting for almost 15 percent of the nation’s revenue. Since the pandemic started almost 2 years ago tourism has been down 75 percent. But Philippines travel is looking bright for 2022. 

The Philippines has taken adequate measures to prepare for the return of international tourists such as targeted mass vaccinations for hospitality staff in the tourism industry and implementing new cleaning and sanitization processes to ensure utmost hygiene safety. There have also been talks of a green lane tourism initiative similar to other Southeast Asian nations that would provide vaccinated travelers a much easier and streamlined entry to the country.

While it is too soon to say when the international borders to the Philippines will fully reopen, what we do know is that the country has an exciting year ahead of them and have taken great strides to position themselves to welcome back travelers. Here’s what the country has going on in 2022 that tells us that the Philippines will open very soon.

WTTC comes to Manila

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) comes to Philippines

One of the first major announcements of 2022 is that the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit will be held in Manila from April 20 – 22. This is critical for the Philippines because it will bring key representatives, executives, and other top tier level decision makers in the travel industry to witness the changes that have been implemented since borders were opened. If a reason to combine business and leisure travel in an exotic island isn’t enough, these delegates will also have the first hand opportunity to experience the safety measures being taken by the government and tourism sectors as whole. 

The Philippines was awarded the “Safe Travel Stamp” by the WTTC in September 2020 as an indication for travelers to recognize destinations and businesses around the world who have adopted health and hygiene protocols that meet the globalized standards. The list of the hotels that have received recognition in the Philippines can be found here.

By holding such an important summit in Manila, the Philippines will have the opportunity to show tens of thousands of people attending that the country has put the effective safety measures in place to reopen safely and aid its much needed recovery in the tourism sector.

two airline pilots in plane with cleaning staff
AirAsia ramps up service in Philippines

Expanded Domestic Flights with low-cost carrier AirAsia

Another change for the coming year is that Philippines low-cost carrier, AirAsia Philippines, has increased their market share to almost 20 percent in the country. Looking forward to January 2022, AirAsia Philippines is adding more domestic flights to handle the expected demand, especially to its popular tourist destinations such as Kalibo, Caticlan, and Puerto Princesa. This alone shows that AirAsia is ramping up its flight schedules to not only handle the increase of domestic travel among Philippine nationals, but also the increase of international passengers traveling amongst the islands. 

In January 2022 the scheduled flight frequency will be up over 40 percent, compared to previous years, to handle the increased travelers on top of the holiday traffic. Also, as 2021 came to an end, bookings were almost at capacity during the holiday season – a much different story than during the pandemic and a much more positive outlook. Bookings are also now being made months in advance compared to during the pandemic when the average booking window was 3 days in advance, and reserved primarily for essential travel only. This is a clear indicator that travel confidence is well underway and travelers have intentions of making future travel plans instead of booking last minute trips. 

To take advantage of the AirAsia expanded flights; check out some of the signature Asia Bespoke Tour guaranteed departures.

New Clark City is the city of the future

The New Clark City

The ground-breaking development started back in 2016, and this year will start the much anticipated project of creating a new, sustainable, and fully integrated city. New Clark City, previously known as Clark Green City, is located about 70 miles north of the capital, Manila and was the host site of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. With help from various investors and urban planners, this new city will provide its residents with fully sustainable and controlled utilities, transportation and environmental protection like none other in the Philippines. Electric vehicles, modern technologies, and lots of green space are just some of the things to look forward to in this new city. The city has also been geographically established in an area that is less prone to floods due to the elevation and earthquakes based on the location. This provides safer and more livable conditions making it an attractive relocation to those debating moving. 

The new city also comes with a new railway system that connects New Clark City to Manila as well as other cities along the way.  To date most travelers that visit the Philippines make use of privately hired car services, the rail system will be a major improvement to the commute times and provides a new and up to date rail system to travel amongst major cities.

Scuba diver shining flashlight on sea turtle in Philippines
The Philippines is know for its pristine reefs and rich marine life

Sustainability Efforts

For the third consecutive year, the Philippines has won the World’s Top Dive Destination in the World Travel Awards (WTA) in 2021. Honored for its magnificent Coral Triangle, home to 600 species, 2,000 reef fish species and six out of the world’s seven species of marine turtles, the country’s rich marine ecosystem is among the richest on the planet. For these reasons, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat says that it is, “ our great responsibility of protecting and conserving our underwater resources so that these will also be enjoyed and experienced in their pristine natural state by future generations.” 

The Philippines has been putting a great deal of effort into the sustainability efforts all throughout the country in the past years focusing on specific areas one at a time. Starting in Boracay back in 2018, the Philippines closed a major part of the island to major issues in correcting the waste management issues and implementing strict measures to avoid overtoursim. After the reopening of Boracay, hundreds of electric vehicles were donated to the island to reduce the carbon exhaust and strict waste disposal protocols were put in place to control the waste entering the sea. 

Another popular destination is El Nido, which has also gone through rehabilitation efforts to preserve its ecosystem and reduce the degradation of the island. Cleaning up waste, properly disposing of trash and understanding how the impact decisions today make on the future. These are some of the ways the Philippines has engaged to pave a brighter future for the nation as well as protect the islands and preserve the natural resources for greater periods of time.

Tourism promotion will increase in 2022

It is MORE Fun in the Philippines

The year 2022’s annual budget is over 10 percent greater than previous years, meaning more funding for the country and more funding for the recovery of the impact of the pandemic on travel. Funds are now being allocated towards reaching their targeted vaccinated population as well as expanding and upgrading their current hospital facilities and equipment. Implementing modern technology and processes will allow not only the country to thrive but also be prepared and capable of handling the return of travel. 

As of December 2021, roughly 50 percent of the target population was vaccinated and over 80 percent of the tourism sector workers were vaccinated. In the first quarter of 2022 there are several initiatives to reach their desired figures bringing the country closer to herd immunity greatly reducing the risk of spreading the virus. 

At the end of the day, while there is no set in stone date when this pandemic will be over, it is clear the Philippines is doing what is necessary to be prepared for tourism to resume. The new year looks promising as more people are vaccinated and initiatives are put in place by the government and tourism sectors to bring foreign travelers back into the country and to preserve the islands. With new and increased protocols when it comes to cleanliness, hygiene, vaccinations, and new cleaner and sustainable initiatives, Philippines will prevail in the coming year. 

 

Get ahead of the curve and learn how Asia Bespoke Tours can help create a unique travel experience in the Philippines in the future.  Contact us today and follow along on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

Giant tree sculptures at night in Singapore

State of Travel to Southeast Asia in January 2022: A Country-by-Country Breakdown

Travel to Southeast Asia during the 2020-2021 years has been a rollercoaster. All the while, most sites and attractions remained open, as domestic and foreign visitors visited in waves. In 2022, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, different countries have adopted different policies at their borders. With the ASEAN Tourism Conference in Sihanoukville, Cambodia just around the corner, all eyes are on Southeast Asia’s tourism and travel recovery. Below is a country-by–country round-up as of January 8, 2022 on the status of travel to Southeast Asia.

White boats on secluded lagoon white sand beach rock formations Philippines

Philippines Travel Update

Recent News: In 2022, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced recently a push for two markets for the Philippines. The first, is sustainable tourism, where the Philippines would further invest in developing and marketing its many beautiful ecotourism and natural sites. The second is business combined with leisure or “workation” trips, where more and more business travelers will be able to come to the Philippines for longer stretches in time for work and weekend trips around the islands. There are some high points of Philippine tourism that show for major potential for lovers of the crystal-blue islands to come back at high volume in 2022: the roll-out of new tourism infrastructure projects in Metro Manila and beyond,  new and effective safe travel protocols by the Philippine government, and record visitor numbers traveling to destinations like Boracay in December 2021. There is a lot to look forward to as the situation develops in 2022.

Recent Travel Updates:

Beginning on February 16th, all travelers to the Philippines must be vaccinated. There are three lists:
  • Green List. There are 32 countries and regions on the green list, including China, India and Japan. Testing and quarantine requirements for green-list travelers is available here.
  • Red List. There are 14 countries and regions on the red list, including Canada, Saudi Arabia and Spain. Individuals who have been in or traveled through a red-list country within 14 days of intended arrival are now allowed to enter the country. Testing and quarantine requirements for red-list travelers is available here.
  • Yellow List. All countries and territories not listed on the green or red list are categorized as yellow. Testing and quarantine requirements for yellow-list travelers is available here.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Farmer cultivating crop in the rain with buffalo in Laos

Laos Travel Update

Recent News: As a Southeast Asia DMC with operations across Laos, we are excited to see that the beautiful Laos, known for its adventure travel and beautiful mountains, is open for business. From the Great Stupa in Laos, regarded as the country’s most important landmark, to gems in Laos like the Phou Hin Poun region and its natural sites, Laos has something for everybody. 

Laos has spent much of the last two years investing in tourism infrastructure and safety and health standards. The new LaoSafe program includes a new series of health and safety standards for different sectors in the industry, including accommodation, food and beverage and airlines.  In addition, with the new launch of the China-Laos Railway connecting Boton and Vientiane, Laos has entered a new age as a land-linked country with increased infrastructure.

Recent Travel Updates: The Laos Travel Green Zone plan has opened up travel for fully vaccinated arrivals from 31 nations, including Australia the United Kingdom, and the United States. Eligible visitors looking to visit Laos will need to sign up for organized group group tours for travel operators in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Travelers to Laos must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival, have a current health insurance policy with a coverage of at least $50,000 (USD), have in possession a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure, download the two official Laos travel apps prior to arrival and undergo a PCR test upon arrival and remain at their home or hotel until they receive the negative result.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Colorful river boats on river in Hoi An Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Updates

Recent News: In recent months, the tourism industry in Vietnam has gone from strength to strength. IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced a four-hotel deal in Vietnam focused on expanding into Danang and other areas. During 2021, Vietnam’s beautiful natural sites were highlighted on many “Best of” lists, including the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, which was highlighted in the “52 places to love in 2021” list by the New York Times, and Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO Heritage Site, chosen as the world’s 25 best national parks by TripAdvisor readers.

Recent Travel Updates: Vietnam welcomes international visitors and returning Vietnamese citizens who meet the following conditions:

  1. Visitors must be traveling from the following countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, and the US
  2. Present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, with the last dose at least 14 days and not more than 1 year prior to date of entry.  Or present a certificate of recovery from COVID-19. 
  3. Present a negative result from an RT-PCR/RT-LAMP-method test administered within 72 hours before boarding
  4. Have medical or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment, with minimum liability at $50,000. 
  5. Present booking with an approved package tour program from a travel agency.

Travelers that are fully vaccinated must quarantine for 3 days at their accommodation, conducting two PCR tests (one on Day 1 and one on Day 3). Travelers that are not fully vaccinated must isolate for 7 days at their accommodation, conducting two PCR tests (one on Day 1 and one on Day 7.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Tables set for dinner at Cambodian temple at night

Cambodia Travel Updates

Recent News: Nearly 190,000 tourists, most of them domestic, celebrated this past New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap. According to the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism, the number totalled 1,145,141, with 1,139,387 domestic tourists and 5,754 international foreign visitors visiting Cambodia during the New year holiday. As Cambodia continues in 2022, there is an emphasis to provide visitors the opportunity to explore areas outside of Siem Reap, including the beautiful beaches and natural wonders of the Coastal Zone (Kep, Kampot, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong), as well as stunning natural sites and rainforest areas in the Cardamom Mountains. 

Recent Travel Updates: At this point, Cambodia is fully open to vaccinated travelers. The requirements are: 1 negative PCR test result 72 hours prior to arrival in Cambodia and  1 negative Rapid Antigen test result on arrival. After that, travelers are free to travel anywhere in Cambodia with no quarantine requirements. Unvaccinated travelers must undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Cambodia in a government-sanctioned hotel at their own expense.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Traditional Thai towers at sunset Grand Palace Bankok Thailand

Thailand Travel Updates

Recent News: Thailand’s quarantine and opening policies has seen a considerable amount of changes in the last two years. There are some positives notes to look forward to in 2022, however. Thailand’s famous Maya Bay beach on Ko Phi Phi Leh finally re-opened after three years of closure. Thailand has also launched the Entry Thailand website, which it plans to roll out in 2022 and helps streamline the visitor’s travel documents and experience prior to and during arrival to Thailand.

Recent Travel Updates: Thailand has announced that they will restart quarantine-free travel in February 2022. Until then, below are requirements to enter Thailand. Below are requirements to enter Thailand:

  •  A Thailand Pass, which can be applied via the Thai Consular website
  •  A Medical Certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before travelling.
  • Travellers under 6 years of age, travelling with parents, are exempt from this requirement.
  • An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$50,000.
  • A confirmed payment for an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) accommodation or similar government-approved facility. Foreign nationals must also have proof of payment for the required RT-PCR tests.
  •  In case of a 7-day or 10-day quarantine, 2 RT-PCR COVID-19 tests are required.
  • At least a 7-day quarantine for travellers who have a Certificate of Vaccination for have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an approved vaccine – or at least 1 dose for travellers under 18 years of age – at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand.
  •  At least a 10-day quarantine for travellers who do not have a Certificate of Vaccination.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Skyscraper towers lit again orange and purple sunset Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Travel Updates

Recent News: Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane has been relatively successful in initiating travel from Singapore to Malaysia. Discussions are still ongoing between Brunei and Malaysia to establish a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) that would begin to open up travel between these countries. Malaysian tourism gems including Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo have seen international attention through 2021 for their natural and eco-tourism sites, many of which invested in sustainable tourism development throughout the pandemic. Medical tourism to Malaysia is also expected to see an uptick in 2022.

Recent Travel Updates: Malaysia has relatively strict travel restrictions. All passengers must undergo COVID-19 screening test upon arrival.

  1.  All passengers arriving from overseas must provide a negative RT-PCR test result taken two (2) days before departing to Malaysia
  2.  All passengers must also observe a 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers* and a 10-day quarantine for unvaccinated

Then, there are differing policies based on the category of Passenger. For instance, travelers from currently high risk countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the USA, UK, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi have stricter testing policies and quarantine periods, as compared to travelers from Singapore who do not need to quarantine. The only exception is with travelers from Singapore, who are able to enter Malaysia without quarantining under a recently resumed (as of January 20th) vaccinated travel lane programme with Singapore.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Water pond with tree sculptures and hotel in background Singapore

Singapore Travel Updates

Recent News: The well-known leisure and business travel destination Singapore has opened three new tourism attractions in 2021. These include the new Museum of Ice Cream (paralleling the museum of the same name in New York City), the freefall swing ride Slingshot in Clarke Quay, and the SkyHelix ride in Sentosa. The Singapore Tourism Board has new plans for the shopping center on Orchard Road, planning new leisure travel concepts to provide more and varied experiences for travelers.

Recent Travel Updates: For the first time in nearly half a year, in January 2022, Singapore reported more COVID infections among travelers than from local residents.The Singapore program has paused its Vaccinated Travel Lane program, which allows for travel by vaccinated travelers from certain countries without the need to quarantine upon arrival, for a month, starting on December 23, 2021. The VTL program is expected to come back at the end of January 2022. The VTL program is for vaccinated travelers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

Rock formation temple in the ocean Indo Tanah Bali

Indonesia Travel Updates

Recent News: According the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE), Indonesia will focus on quality, outdoors, natural and sustainable tourism in the pandemic aftermath, with a target of attracting between 1.8 and 3.6 million international visitors this year. Popular destination Bali has largely relied on domestic travel through 2020 and 2021. Other destinations in Indonesia have seen international attention this year for their unique experiences, including Komodo National Park, Bukit Lawang, Weh Island, and Raja Ampat Islands.

Recent Travel Updates:

As of Jan. 12, travelers from Angola, Botswana, Denmark, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, the U.K., Zambia and Zimbabwe can now enter the country.

To enter Indonesia, all travelers must:

  • Have a negative PCR test with a valid QR code taken within 72 hours of departure.
  • Have a digital or physical copy proving that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Enter seven-day quarantine upon arrival to Indonesia.
  • As of Jan. 12, foreign nationals must have a Single Entry Visit Visa or Limited Stay Visa to enter Indonesia; the Free Visa (Visa Exemption), Visa on Arrival and Multiple Entry Business Visa remain suspended until otherwise announced.

As a Southeast Asia DMC focused on travel experiences, we have aggregated these travel requirements. For consistent information tailored to your point of origin, access your embassy or consulate website.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2022 in Southeast Asia for travel enthusiasts and lovers of nature, unique experiences, and culture. Visit our Southeast Asia Diaries for more consistent information on Southeast Asian travel, and follow us on  Instagram, Linkedin, and Facebook.