MANILA – Some 50,000 travelers are expected to arrive in the country for the summer months, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Friday.
“Now, we see around 36,000 departures and around 30,000 arrivals; but during Holy Week, as the summer season enters, maybe we can see that it can hit around 40,000 to 50,000 per day,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a Laging Handa briefing Friday.
Sandoval said they expect an influx of tourists as most travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have already been lifted.
“This is a big difference from the past two years when our tourism has really fallen, the number of travelers will be less primarily because we have an arrival cap and we have travel restrictions not only in the Philippines but also in other countries. Now, as the world eases up here with our restrictions during the height of the pandemic, we’re seeing that the number of travelers is really going up,” Sandoval added.
On the other hand, she also noted that they are opening additional immigration counters to be able to serve more passengers amid reports of long queues.
“Apart from maximizing our manpower here at our airports, particularly here at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where most of the departing and arriving people pass through there,” the BI official said.
She added that they are also coordinating with airport stakeholders to minimize passenger queues.
“We are also contacting and working with the airport authorities because we see this problem, the length of the queue, it’s a problem that requires a multisectoral approach. Apart from the BI maximizing its manpower, we also have many airport stakeholders such as airlines and airport authorities who can help a lot to ease the queues at our airports,” she added.
The BI spokesperson reported that more than 30 immigration officers are set to graduate soon from the Philippine Immigration Academy.
“Right now we have 38 Immigration officers in our Philippine Immigration Academy that are set to graduate soon. So we will immediately deploy them after graduation. There’s another 147 batch of Immigration officers whose hiring process is ongoing. So our hiring is continuous so that we can really fill all the Immigration officers we need,” Sandoval added.
She also advised travelers to go to the airport three hours before their scheduled flights to spare them from hustles.
“Since many of us want to go sightseeing inside and outside the country. We at the Bureau of Immigration are ready to serve you. We highly suggest to be at the airport three hours prior to your flight, check-in early and go straight to the immigration area so that there will be no problems so that your travel will be smooth and seamless,” Sandoval added. (PNA)