Philippines seeks fast visa process for Chinese tourists
MANILA, July 8 (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.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said the Department of Justice (DOJ) 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, 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 of DOT-accredited operators and businessmen. Applications should be filed 10 days before arrival, with a visa fee of 25 U.S. dollars plus a 10 pesos (19 U.S. cents)-legal research fee.
DOT data showed that Chinese tourists are the second top foreign visitors to the Philippines, next to South Korea.
From January to May this year, the DOT said 559,289 Chinese visitors traveled to the Philippines, a 43.81 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
South Korea remained the Philippines' number one source of foreign tourists at 1.6 million last year.[ Editor: LYQ ]