Tourism share to economy tumbles by over 61% in 2020

MANILA (AdChoiceTV News) — The tourism industry, among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, contributed less to the country’s economic output in 2020, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority published Wednesday revealed.

The PSA estimated the Tourism Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA) to the national economy last year at 5.4%, equivalent to ₱973.31 billion.

This is a 61.2% nosedive from the ₱2.51 trillion tallied in 2019, corresponding to a 12.8% contribution to the country’s gross domestic output (GDP).

“All forms of tourism expenditures posted downturns in 2020,” the PSA likewise noted.

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Domestic tourism expenditure, which consists of spending by resident visitors within the Philippines either as part of a domestic or international trip, suffered the worst with a downturn of 82.3%, falling to ₱556.89 billion.

Inbound tourism spending, incurred by foreign visitors and Filipinos permanently living abroad, plunged by 77.9% to ₱132.58 billion. Outbound tourism expenditures likewise dwindled to ₱91.17 billion, an 81.6% drop.

These figures bring internal tourism spending to ₱689.47 billion, declining by 81.6%.

The PSA also reported an 18.1% drop in employment in tourism characteristic industries, or 4.68 million in 2020 compared to 5.72 million in 2019.

“Share of employment in tourism industries to total employment in the country was recorded at 11.9 percent,” the agency noted.

The tourism industry was forced to go dark in March last year as the national government shut down the country’s borders and imposed its strictest lockdown measures yet to curb the spread of COVID-19 then.

“[E]veryone in general was minimizing unnecessary contact so many refrained from visiting destinations with a lot of cases,” Chan Tayag Southeast Equities Chairman Robert Chan told AdChoiceTV News, adding that the industry is pinning hopes on “pent-up demand” eventually offsetting the drop in tourism output once the health crisis subsides.

With state authorities eventually relaxing restrictions at a gradual pace since the height of lockdowns in 2020, tourism officials have taken steps to slowly reopen the industry’s doors at least to domestic travelers.

Just this month, the national government allowed residents of the NCR Plus to travel to areas under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine for leisure purposes. Travelers must present a negative RT-PCR test if required by the receiving local government.

Chan noted that the recovery of the tourism sector this year is anchored on the rate at which COVID-19 vaccines are administered and the economy can reopen to accept both local and foreign tourists safely.

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“If we reach herd immunity as fast as Israel and some US states by (the fourth quarter of 2021) then it seems possible,” he added.

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/ITC — AdChoiceTV News (Manila)

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