LONDON (May 15) -– The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has amended its travel advisory to the Philippines by lifting travel restrictions to the “east side of Mindanao,” the Philippine Embassy in London reported.
The amended travel advisory, which took effect on May 12, was requested by the Philippine Embassy in London and the Department of Foreign Affairs to their British counterparts.
For more than two years, the British Government advised its citizens not to travel to any part of Mindanao due to “terrorist and insurgent activity.”
The blanket travel restriction discouraged British travelers from travelling to Mindanao even if they wished to since it would have been impossible for them to obtain the required travel insurance.
Without the travel insurance, British travelers would have found it difficult to obtain funds in cases of hospitalization or accidents.
The amendment to the UK’s travel restrictions to Mindanao is a positive development that could now allow British citizens to obtain travel insurance for purposes of enjoying the surfs of Siargao, the idyllic sands of Pearl Farm in Davao City and white-water rafting in Cagayan de Oro, among others.
Travels to Mindanao by British Government officials during the past two years may have convinced the FCO that certain parts of Mindanao are relatively safe for British travellers to visit.
British tourists account for the biggest number of European tourists to the Philippines. In 2008, a total of 70,807 UK citizens visited the Philippines, representing a year-on-year increase of around 14 percent.
The Department of Tourism is working to attract more British tourists with the introduction of varied travel packages including scuba diving and bird-watching.