Malacañang explained yesterday that there is a travel advisory but clears out that it is not a ban on Chinese citizens planning to visit the Philippines.
Deputy presidential spokesperson, Abigail Valte, stated in her weekly radio interview over state-run dzRB, that she used as a basis the statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario that the travel advisory is not related to the Scarborough Shoal standoff.
“It’s not a travel ban, it’s just an advisory, which is normal when they feel that they have to give their citizens warning about a certain event,” she said.
Presidential spokesman, Edwin Lacierda said that more Filipino tourists are going to China than Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines. “Ironically, this is the year of friendly exchanges,” he said.
“That’s why we say it is unfortunate that this happened. But if the decision of tour operators in China is true then we will just have to work hard on the other markets.”
India, the second largest populated country in the world after China, Russia and among others are the other potential markets, Valte said.
Valte added that the Philippine government has not received any official communication about it, while the travel advisory may have been reported in media.
Shirley Lai, a representative of a travel agency, said at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that the most affected when it comes to the declination of Chinese tourist arrivals are the chartered flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen bound for Boracay.
Regular flights are not yet affected, she added.
Lai said that the airlines affected are the chartered flights of Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, and Zest Air.
She handles about 20-50 Chinese tourists a day, she added.
Lai said that she was expecting Chinese tourists to arrive on May 10, 11, and 12 and proceed to Boracay but they canceled their travel.
She expressed hope that kinks in the issue will be ironed out soon because a lot of revenues were lost with the cancelled tours.