11 August 2013 – Malaysians and nationals from 150 other countries may now stay longer in the Philippines, in light of the Philippine Government's decision to extend the visa-free entry from 21 days to 30 days.

"The proximity of the Philippines to Malaysia and the increased number of flights now plying this route present a great opportunity for more tourism and people-to-people exchanges. The additional days would enable visitors to also explore Tagaytay, Boracay, Cebu, Camarines Sur and other areas in the Philippine countryside and discover why, as our slogan says, 'it's more fun in the Philippines'," Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.

This privilege is extended to nationals of 151 countries, provided that they have a passport valid for six months beyond their contemplated stay and a return ticket to the country of origin or onward ticket to the next country of destination.

The new regulations took effect last July 1.

The list of countries eligible for 30 days visa-free entry can be obtained through this link: https://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/site-administrator/visa-information.

"With these new regulations, we expect tourism numbers to really pick up, not only for Malaysia but from around the world" Ambassador Malaya added.

In 2012, tourist arrivals in the Philippines hit the four million mark for the first time at 4.27 million, representing a 9.1 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

There is a robust air traffic between the Philippines and Malaysia. Cebu Pacific has daily flights from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, thrice a week flights from Manila to Kota Kinabalu and twice weekly flights from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur.

PAL Express flies thrice a week from Manila to Kuala Lumpur. Recently, Philippine Airlines re-launched its Manila-Kuala Lumpur route and flies four times a week.

Malaysia Airlines have thrice daily flights between Manila and Kuala Lumpur, while Zest Air has daily flights to Manila.

Last month, MASWings petitioned the Philippine Civil Aviation Board for a Foreign Air Carrier's Permit (FACP) to operate an international air transportation service in the Philippines. MASwings wants to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa in Palawan before the end of the year.

According to Tourism Malaysia, there were around 25 million tourists who visited Malaysia in 2012, of which 508,744 are Filipinos.

On the other hand, 114,513 Malaysian tourists visited the Philippines in 2012, an increase of 24.81 percent from the previous year. This made Malaysia the 10th major tourist market for the Philippines. END