Tourism investments hit P663 B in 2019

Published July 23, 2020, 3:54 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Combined investments in the tourism industry reached P663.2 billion in 2019 or 5.9 percent higher than the P625.7 billion poured in 2018 with the private sector heavily involved in the development of tourism facilities and destinations in the country, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

In a presentation on the 2019 Philippine Tourism Satellite Account and Tourism Statistics webinar, PSA Assistant National Statistician Macroeconomic Accounts Service Vivian R. Ilarina showed that of the total investments in 2019 the private sector contributed the bulk of P569.1 billion.

The private sector investments called tourism gross feed capital formation (GFCF) could be poured into the construction of tourism accommodation facilities and development of tourist attractions and destinations across the country.

Tourism GFCF or the investment made by the tourism industries is classified into two main categories: tourism-specific fixed assets, and non-tourism-specific fixed assets. Examples of tourism-specific fixed assets are cruise ships, sightseeing buses, hotel facilities, convention centers, etc. while non-tourism-specific fixed assets include, computer system of hotel or travel agency, hotel laundry facilities, etc.

The 2019 private sector investment was also 3.6 percent increase from P549.5 billion investments in 2018. Although the increase in 2019 investments was modest, the private sector had been massively pouring in their capital over the past years. PSA data showed that their investments grew an average of 19.3 percent from 2012 to 2019.

Comparatively, government investments called tourism collective consumption contributed P94.1 billion only in 2019.

Tourism collective consumption refers to the government expenditures associated with support and control of tourism.  Some examples of government expenditures in tourism are legislation and regulation on receiving and serving of visitors, development of tourism policies and tourism promotion of the country or specific region, and provision of support to specific tourism-oriented investments. 

But the data also showed that 2019 government investment was more robust at 23.5 percent higher compared to its 2018 investments of P76.2 billion only. When viewed over the past seven years, the PSA data showed that government investments grew 4.6 percent only  from 2012-2019.

“The tourism gross fixed capital formation investment put in place by tourism industries are vital for the country’s tourism,” said Ilarina.

Tourism investments is 10.7 percent of the country’s total fixed assets and government spending on tourism is 3.8 percent of total expenditures.

Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, cited the private sector’s increasing contribution to the development of the country’s tourism sector.

“Numbers never lie so it’s very interesting we also saw the contributors like all of us,” he said.

“We can see huge potential and more business to be garnered,” he said citing the importance of credible data sources for being very useful. He stressed that data sources that provide numbers that are “padded or underdeclared” do not help the industry.

Clemente also urged for further study on visitor survey to really determine the accuracy of the figures in terms of the tourist expenses while in the country. He would like to see realistic numbers as to “how much they really spend.”

“We rely on statistics on how tourism affects the entire economy,” he stressed.  Clemente further stressed that tourism is one of the major generators of jobs in the country. The domestic industry employs 5.7 million Filipinos but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, it has been very difficult for workers as most of them are currently unemployed or furloughed.