(Eagle News)–Tourist departures have so far remained low despite the government’s decision to allow non-essential outbound travel for Filipinos, the Bureau of Immigration said.

In a statement, the bureau said as of early evening on Wednesday, the first day the restrictions on international leisure travel were lifted,  only 95 Filipinos left under a tourist visa of the total 1,172 Filipinos who departed.

The bureau said this was in contrast to the 64 who left on the same day last week, when only those with essential reasons for travel could leave the country.

“It could mean that Filipinos still feel hesitant to travel internationally during the pandemic,” bureau commissioner Jaime Morente said.

He said, however, that the bureau expects the numbers to pick up during the holiday season.

Morente reminded the public that  arrival restrictions remain in place.

At present, only Filipinos, their spouse and minor children  are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas.

Foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, foreign parents of minor Filipinos, and foreign parents of Filipino children with special needs can also enter the country.

The bureau said those eligible to enter are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates, prior to their arrival.

Apart from these, accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, foreign airline crewmembers, foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas, and foreigners with long-term visas are  allowed entry into the Philippines.

“We are monitoring any policy change set by the (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and the Office of the President, and we are ready to implement these as they may deem fit,” Morente said.