South Korea

South Korea cancels RT-PCR requirement

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(spot.ph) After more than two years of strict pandemic restrictions, South Korea is easing requirements for tourists. For Filipino passport holders looking to take a vacation, this means revisiting their travel plans.

Seoul authorities recently eliminated the required RT-PCR test upon arrival. Until compulsory testing is lifted, all incoming passengers must undergo a swab test 24 hours after arrival at the passenger’s expense.

Here’s what to consider when preparing for your flight to South Korea:

Get ready for a surge in visa applications

If you haven’t seen yet, the Taguig office of the Korean Embassy is so overwhelmed with Filipinos trying to get visas that new measures have been put in place to deal with the influx of applicants. Even the embassy website faces excessive traffic problems.

Unauthorized arrivals are prohibited and only applications submitted through accredited travel agencies will be processed for a period of time.

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The embassy is currently accepting appointments for online visa applications, with a new slot opening every two weeks.

Seven-member South Korean boy group BTS will hold a free concert in Busan on October 15, attracting tourists from various countries, including the Philippines. Filipino fans are eager to go, which means visa queues may not ease until after the concert.

Unlike Jeju Island, where travelers can travel visa-free, Busan still requires a visa as most flights to the port city must land in Seoul.

In addition to concerts by Grammy-nominated artists, many Filipinos want to celebrate the holidays in Seoul, again adding to the queue for visa applications.

Be prepared for higher airfare, hotel costs

There are many reasons to visit South Korea – whether it’s for the food and culture, or for the scenery and change of pace. Seats sell out quickly regardless of the airline, so you have to be prepared to finance a round-trip flight.

Since entry testing is no longer required for incoming tourists, many tourists are drawn to experience what South Korea has to offer. It also means rising prices across the board for hotel rooms and lodging.

Simply put, it’s much better if you book your flights and accommodation weeks or even months in advance.

Prepare masks and epidemic necessities.

Vaccines increase our defenses against the virus, but they will never eradicate COVID-19. Everyone is still at high risk of infection, especially in crowded places such as airports, planes and tourist areas.

Along with getting booster shots and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape, masks are your best defense against the virus. Please wear them at all times in all public places.



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