Tourism's contribution to PH economy drops by over 60 percent

The contribution of the tourism industry to the country's economy plunged by a whopping 61.2 percent in 2020 amid the ongoing global pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) revealed.

Boracay Island when it reopened to domestic tourists in October 2020. (Photo by Tara Yap)

Citing a recent report from the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA), the DOT said that the Tourism Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA) dropped to P973.31 billion last year compared with the P2.51 trillion in 2019.

The PSA report said this is only 5.4 percent of the industry's contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP)--a steep decline from the 12.8 percent recorded in 2019.

The emergence of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last year brought the tourism sector down to its knees, as extended travel restrictions had to be imposed the world over to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

"For an industry highly dependent on the mobility and face-to-face interaction of people, the severe damage of the global pandemic crisis is both unprecedented and unavoidable," the DOT said in a statement.

"This compels the DOT to explore all means possible, within the imposed government restrictions, to facilitate the gradual recovery of the tourism industry," it added.

Despite the challenges that the industry is facing, the DOT is optimistic that it can overcome the current situation.

"With the collective effort of the private and public sectors, the Philippine tourism industry will emerge bigger, better, and more resilient in the new normal," it said.

To ensure the "slow but sure" recovery of the local tourism industry amid the health crisis, the DOT said it will push for the gradual reopening of various local sites, the lobbying for the protection of tourism workers through their inoculation, and the marketing of destinations via the safe travel campaign.

"For the next two years, the Philippines will be positioned as a 'safe, fun, and competitive destination' rooted in strong partnerships with communities and visitors," the DOT said.