MANILA (XINHUA) - The Philippines is exploring ways to shorten the processing of visa on arrivals for Chinese tourists, making their entry into the country faster and hassle-free, local media reported on Sunday (July 8).
Department of Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said the Department of Justice has already agreed to look into the proposal.
He said talks are underway between the two departments to "gradually make easier" the visa processing, especially for Chinese tourists.
As part of the plan, Mr Bengzon said the government is mulling to deploy Mandarin-speaking personnel to airports to better communicate with arriving Chinese tourists.
In August last year, the Philippine government allowed visa upon arrival for Chinese visitors who are part of tour groups from operators accredited by the Department of Tourism. Applications should be filed 10 days before arrival, with a visa fee of US$25 (S$33.90) plus a 10 pesos (S$0.25) legal research fee.
Department of Tourism data showed that Chinese tourists are the second top foreign visitors to the Philippines, next to South Korea.
From January to May this year, 559,289 Chinese visitors travelled to the Philippines, a 43.81 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, said the department.
South Korea remained the Philippines' No. 1 source of foreign tourists at 1.6 million last year.
Aside from Chinese and South Korean tourists, the Department of Tourism is also targeting tourists from India and Japan.