TO GROW inbound Indian traffic, the Philippines is now granting visa-free entry through all airports and ports to Indian travellers who have US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Schengen, Singapore or UK (AJACSSUK) visas or permanent residency.
Effective April 15, the new rule will still allow travellers to stay for 14 days, which may be extended to a maximum length of 21 days.
In 2012, the Philippines allowed AJACSSUK visa holders to come in only via the airports of Manila, Clark and Cebu.
While lauding the new rule, Angel Ramos Bognot, president and managing director, Afro Asian Travel and Tours, suggested the country sweeten it further by granting gratis visas as Japan does.
India is one of the Philippines’ fastest-growing markets albeit from a small base, having increased by 25 per cent in January-February 2015.
Bognot also suggested increasing the tourism marketing spend and further honing the luxury market in India, a strong ally to the Philippines, while reducing marketing in China, which frequently imposes travel advisories against the Philippines and yields mainly mass tourists.
At the same time, he said: “The government should mull granting airlines incentives to revive the Delhi-Manila direct flights, which is crucial to growing inbound from India.”