The Bureau of Immigration reported a 79% drop in the number of international travelers who entered the Philippines last year due to travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19.
Some 3.5 million passengers arrived from January to December 25, much lower than the 16.7 million in 2019, the bureau said.
Two million of arrivals were Filipinos and 1.54 million were foreigners. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the low figures were expected considering a global drop in travel due to the pandemic.
He shared, “We expect these passenger statistics to remain low perhaps until early [this] year,” adding he hopes travel picks up once a COVID-19 vaccine is available and travel confidence is restored.
BI port operations chief Candy Tan said the year started with a “promising” 1.53 million arrivals in January, [dropping] to less than a million in February, and to just over 300,000 in March, the month Luzon was placed under lockdown.