Korean drama-loving Pinoys, pay attention: you can no longer visit Jeju Island without a visa.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced today that they will no longer allow anyone to depart for the island, a favorite setting of several romantic television series, without the proper documents because the Korean government has decided to temporarily suspend visa-free entry for Filipinos. In a statement posted on the BI’s Facebook page, they said South Korea’s decision comes in the wake of the Wuhan virus outbreak, which has infected at least 24 people in South Korea.
Citizens from other countries are also now required to secure visas to visit the island, including those from China, where the Wuhan virus originated; Cambodia; Indonesia; India; and Vietnam. The new rule was implemented by the Jeju Tourism Organization starting from Feb. 4.
BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said that they have already told their officers “not to allow the departure of any Filipino bound for Jeju unless the passenger was issued a visa by the Korean embassy.”
A lot of Filipinos, mostly female, are big fans of Korean pop culture, with many of them regularly traveling to South Korea to see their favorite stars. While a visa is necessary to visit most of South Korea, Filipinos had been allowed to visit Jeju Island without one.
Meanwhile, Medina also announced that at least 300 tourists trying to visit the Philippines have been turned away at several airports since the government decided to ban visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. He added that the bureau has already requested several airlines at the port of origin to stop anyone who has gone to China from boarding a Philippine-bound flight.