Tourism revenue down by 75% as COVID-19 restricts foreign visitors

Foreign visitor arrivals continue to suffer a slump as international borders remain restricted due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, resulting in a 75.15 percent dip in tourism revenue.

Based on the data from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the country recorded a total of 1,318,719 foreign visitors from January to August this year, down by 76.26 percent from the 5,554,950 arrivals in the same period last year. 

The total tourism receipts generated is also lower by 75.15 percent from P81.05 billion from January to July, 2020 compared to P326.15 billion recorded in the same period last year. 

Though the month of January recorded an increase of 8.84 percent compared to the foreign visitor volume in 2019, arrivals started to slow down by February with 418,126 arrivals, a drop of 45.48 percent. This also translates to a decrease of 40.21 percent in terms of visitor receipts or equivalent to P27.12 billion.

“Tourist traffic further plunged in the month of March with 113,286, a decrease of 84.14 percent due to air travel restrictions,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) said in its latest report, citing that April to August have zero arrivals due to the ban on inbound international tourist travel. 

The month of March only generated P6.91 billion visitor receipts, while April to August had no tourist spending.

As the government continues to ease quarantine restrictions in a bid to revive the economy,

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the DOT will concentrate first on the revival of the domestic market in 2021. 

Currently, the country is hosting the largest government-organized travel event – the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) – to pre-sell the country’s major destinations as part of its efforts to slowly recover from the wrath of the COVID-19 crisis.