TO ENCOURAGE more group travel out of India into the Philippines, the local government is working on a new policy granting group visas to segments such as MICE and family travellers.
"We are working closely with the office of consular affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs to encourage them to come out with a policy on group visas, which includes incentive groups, conference groups and family groups. They are considering this and will come up with a new policy soon,” said Glen Agustin, team India head, market development group, Department of Tourism.
Should such a scheme come to pass, groups with bona fide and accredited tour operators will be given a group visa. This erases the need for individual visas and travellers will not be required to show money.
"For FITs, they (will still be) required to apply (for individual visas), pay the necessary processing fees and fulfil all requirements, including show money,” he added.
“However, since the market development group seeks to reduce barriers to entry for tourists, we are exerting all efforts to encourage our partner government agencies to ease the granting of visas to legitimate tourists," Agustin explained.
He said the Philippines is "moving forward" when it comes to attracting arrivals from India, for instance, the country began allowing Indian nationals who had visa-free entry to AJACS SUK countries (Australia, Japan, Canada, Singapore, the US and UK) to enter the Philippines without a visa for 14 days, extendable to 21 days.