The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported a 13-million drop, or a 79-percent reduction, in the number of international travelers who entered the country this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that prompted the government to impose travel restrictions.


BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said BI statistics showed that more than 3.5 million passengers arrived here from January to December 25, compared to the 16.7 million who came in 2019.

Morente said that of those who arrived this year, 2.03 million were Filipinos while foreigners 1.54 million were foreigners.   

On the other hand, he disclosed that 8.7 million Filipinos and 7.9 million foreigners entered the country in 2019, during the same period.  

Morente said the 13-million drop in figures is not surprising, considering that worldwide drop in international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government continues to implement travel restrictions on international travel, especially foreign tourists who are still prohibited from entering the country.

“We expect these passenger statistics to remain low perhaps until early next year,” said Morente.  “But we remain hopeful that the international travel sector recovers soon, especially once the vaccine reaches our shores and confidence in travel is restored,” he added.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism is “expected to decline over 70% in 2020, back to levels of 30 years ago”.

With the pandemic, travel and tourism remains one of the most affected sectors, as the world faces global travel restrictions, with many borders closed.

Lawyer Candy Tan, BI port operations division chief, reported that from a promising 1.53-million arrivals last January, the volume dropped to 858,859 in February and to 363,548 in March. 

 It was on March 14 that President Duterte issued a proclamation placing the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Source: Manila Bulletin (