Solon urges gov’t to reopen PH to fully vaccinated tourists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 4) — House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero wants the government to open up the country to fully vaccinated foreign tourists to help jumpstart the recession-hit economy.

“It’s very feasible. We have to reopen our economy somewhere. We have to move even an inch,” Romero told CNN Philippines’ The Final Word, adding that there are a billion people overseas who have completed their vaccination, which is a potential market for the country’s tourism sector.

The spread of the coronavirus in 2020 led to the closure of economies around the world. In the Philippines, it caused the country’s gross domestic product to contract by 9.5%. In the tourism industry, workers were displaced after the government implemented lockdowns and travel bans to control transmission.

Romero said the government may start opening areas that are not greatly affected by the virus. Health protocols, like swab tests before and after entry, will still be observed, he added.

He also said doing so may bring back investor confidence to the country. Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that foreign direct investments in 2020 dwindled to $6.5 billion, down 24.6% compared to the previous year.

“The investor confidence in the Philippines…has been down because wala nang [there is no more] confidence in the Philippines because there is no activity…We have to do something, we have to progress,” Romero said.