Maybank analyst Alexa Mae Carvajal, commenting on the recent announcement of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regarding the temporary suspension of its e-visa application system in China, observes that the online application’s halt appears to have minimal repercussions.
Speaking to AGB, Carvajal notes that, despite the temporary suspension, applicants can still submit their visa applications through traditional channels at the Philippine Embassy.
Furthermore, she highlights the ongoing slow recovery in China’s VIP player activity, with growth driven by players from South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, suggesting that companies like Bloomberry are unlikely to be significantly affected.
The DFA’s decision to suspend the e-visa application system comes after an extensive beta testing phase, during which the need for improvements, particularly in payment processing systems, was identified. The reassessment period is expected to bring about enhancements to the overall efficiency and functionality of the system, according to authorities.
Throughout the suspension period, applicants are encouraged by the DFA to utilize alternative channels by reaching out to the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate General for the submission of visa applications and addressing inquiries. This measure ensures that individuals requiring visas for travel to the Philippines can continue their application process with minimal disruption.
The DFA unveiled the preliminary launch of the Philippine e-Visa system in August. The initial phase of this initiative targets Chinese tourists in Shanghai, China, with plans to expand to India in the next stage.
According to the most recent data, the foreign service posts of the DFA have granted a total of 1,739 Philippine e-visas between August 24th and November 6th.
In late November, the Philippines’s Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Frasco noted that the country has recorded more than 4.82 million foreign visitor arrivals, including Filipinos based overseas, breaching its target even before year-end.
The DOT data show that as of November 28th, Chinese tourists only amounted to 5.03 percent of the total, with 223,411 visitor arrivals in the Philippines in ten months.
The country’s largest chunk of foreign arrivals came from South Korea, with 1,275,887 foreign visitors and 4,231 overseas Filipinos, for a total of 26.46 percent.
The Philippines’ President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced this year that the government is in the process of refining various initiatives designed to extend the validity of electronic visas (e-Visas) for foreign nationals.