Hong Kong lifts travel ban on the Philippines after 4 years

HONG Kong has rescinded its travel ban on the Philippines after four years, paving the way for Hong Kong tour groups to resume travel to the South-east Asian country within the next few weeks.

The scrapping of the ban on April 23 followed the Philippines’ apology and compensation to the victims and families of Hong Kong tourists who were embroiled in a hostage-taking incident in Manila in August 2010.

Philippine Travel Agencies Association president, John Paul Cabalza, said the lifting of the travel ban “will have very good effects” on inbound. “The calm is already there so the next move for us is to bring more arrivals from Hong Kong, which is one of the potent sources of tourists because of its proximity to Manila,” Cabalza explained.

Said Rowena Espino, operations supervisor, Kenstar Travel: “Having resolved the conflict with Hong Kong which everyone is waiting for, there should be a surge in tourists from Hong Kong.”

The lifting of Hong Kong’s travel ban is a shot in the arm for the Philippines whose total international arrivals in January and February grew by a mere 3.5 per cent to 884,014, the slowest growth recorded in the last five years. In January and February, arrivals from Hong Kong plunged 8.4 per cent to 21,160.

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