Manila: The Philippines Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has said that many Indian students who had flown back home during the pandemic now want to return and continue their studies in the nation of over 7,600 islands.
Speaking to reporters after the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Manila concluded on April 22, the Philippines tourism head said she had discussed the issue of Indians wanting to visit her nation with her Indian counterpart.
An official said there were about 16,000 Indian students in the Philippines, most of them studying medicine, and many had expressed a desire to fly back from India to continue their studies. “In fact, when we reopened, a lot of them were texting me that they wanted to come back so that they can continue their studies here,” she said.
There were no Covid-19 related cases (among the Summit participants), so it shows that we are slowly going back to normal, she said. She said Indian tourists have been coming to the Philippines since the country reopened for tourists on April 1. “We expect more tourists to come and visit us,” she added. She also spoke to Indian Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh during the summit.
“Aside from Covid protocols in force, everything is back to normal. We were able to stage the three-day global summit successfully. Over 1,000 guests came. Over 600 foreigners attended the event,” she said. India will be hosting the global summit for tourism ministers this December, she said.
“We are setting an example of how we can slowly reopen (tourism). They (tourism ministers and industry leaders who attended the Manila summit) were asking us how we did it.
“The consensus is to make travel more seamless. If possible, make it less restrictive. But this can be done only if more people are vaccinated,” she said.
Around 2.85 lakh tourists visited the Philippines, a country of 7,641 islands, since the Covid restrictions were gradually lifted in February and to a large extent from April 1, she said.