International tourism’s contribution to the economy doubled over the past five years, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The 2015 Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts released by PSA showed that foreign tourists’ expenditures in the Philippines hit P306.6 billion last year, accounting for 8.2 percent of total exports of goods and services. This increased from only 4.3 percent of total exports of goods and services in 2010.
Foreign tourism receipts emerged as the third biggest export item in 2015, data showed.
“Looking back, the positive outlook of the industry, the harmonious public and private partnership, a good marketing campaign and the strong government support that the DOT received allowed tourism to reach the economic heights where it is today,” said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.
Jimenez said in terms of growth and achievement, tourism climbed to third place, next to trade industry and real estate as propellers of gross domestic product growth in 2015.
Data from PSA showed the tourism industry employed about 4.98 million people in 2015.
“To maintain the industry’s growth, the 2016-2022 National Tourism Development Plan is presently being finalized for presentation to the new administration for approval,” said Jimenez.
The national plan is expected to help sustain the strong first-quarter growth in tourist arrivals and help the country meet its target of 6.5 million foreign tourists by yearend.
First-quarter tourism arrivals increased 15.1 percent to 1,602,253 million from a year ago. International tourism revenues also rose 14.9 percent in the first quarter to P67.74 billion from P58.96 billion in 2015.
Arrivals in March rose 11.9 percent to 510,270 from 456,163 a year earlier. Tourism activities during the month generated P18.3 billion, or 6.85 percent higher than P17.13-billion earnings in the same month in 2015.
South Korea remains the top source of tourist arrivals, with a total of 383,544 tourists in the first quarter or 23.9 percent of the total.
It was followed by the US with 14.4-percent market share; China, 11.52 percent; Japan, 8.96 percent; Australia, 4.2 percent; Canada, 3.33 percent; Taiwan, 3.25 percent; the United Kingdom, 3.06 percent; Singapore. 2.77 percent; and Malaysia, 2.28 percent.
“The business is good, you only have to keep the momentum going,” said Jimenez.