BI reports 45% drop in tourist visa extension applications

The Bureau of Immigration said Friday a significant decrease of those applying for a tourist extension.

Below is the press release of BI posted on their Facebook account.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported a 45-percent drop in the number of applications for tourist extension for the year 2020.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that the Bureau’s Tourist Visa Section (TVS) processed a total of 240,276 applications for extension of stay of tourists, which is 44.67-percent lower than the 434,251 similar applications it received in 2019.

Morente said the sharp decline in numbers was expected, considering that entry to the country of aliens remain restricted, following travel bans set due to the Covid-19 pandemic which started in March last year.

“International travel restrictions remain in place even as we anticipate a gradual lifting of these restrictions this year as the vaccines against -19 begin to arrive,” the BI chief said. “We hope that the tourism industry will finally rebound at least by the second or third quarter of 2021 and the Philippines will once again open its doors to foreign visitors,” he added.

BI reports 45% drop in tourist extension applications

Morente also bared that due to entry restrictions on foreign tourists, the amount of extension fees also registered a significant decrease in 2020.

He said the BI’s collection from visa extension fees amounted to only P1.3 billion last year, which is 40-percent less than the almost P2.2 billion earned in 2019.

Collection from visa extension fees is one of the major sources of revenue for the BI, and has always been considered as indicative of the Philippines’ growing reputation as a major tourist destination in the Southeast Asian region.

A rise in visa extension fee collection would mean more foreign tourists are opting to prolong their stay in the country, thus contributing to the development of the economy.

“Despite the low numbers for 2020, we remain hopeful that the tourism industry can bounce back this year,” said Morente.

Applications for extension of stay may be filed at the BI main office in Manila or in any of its authorized field, extension and satellite offices throughout the country.