The rise of the tourism sector’s contribution to the Philippine economy in 2021 helped the country rank as the world’s fourth fastest-growing economy last year.
This was stressed by World Travel and Tourism Council President Julia Simpson at a press conference on the first day of the global summit being hosted by the Philippines from Wednesday to Friday.
Simpson shared the Philippine data on WTTC’s Economic Impact Report (EIR) where she highlighted the growth of the country’s travel and tourism sector in 2021.
The WTTC’s EIR showed that in 2021, the sector supported 7.8 million jobs, which is equivalent to 20.5% growth in 2020, compared with a global increase of 6.7%.
The WTTC president said that it should be noted that before the COVID-19 pandemic or in 2019, the country’s travel and tourism industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the total economy was 22.5% or US$92.6 billion.
However, these contributions declined by 80.7% or US$ 17.8 billion or just a mere 4.85% share to the national economy due to the travel restrictions imposed and the closure of international borders.
However, the country gradually recovered in 2021 and its contribution rose to US$ 41 billion or 10.4% share to the country’s GDP.
These figures differ from the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Statistics Authority's numbers as the values used by the WTTC’s EIR are based on constant 2021 prices and exchange rates with Oxford Economics, national sources and United Nations World Tourism Organization as its sources.
PSA's 2019 records showed that the tourism industry contributed 12.7% to the country's GDP. It reported that there was steep decline in tourism contribution in 2020 with only 5.4% share from the sector.
'Road to recovery'
With the Philippine travel and tourism sector’s impressive rise, Simpson said the country is on a firm road to recovery.
“Our latest EIR for the Philippines signals the astonishing recovery of the country’s Travel & Tourism sector,” Simpson said.
“Resulting in a massive employment boost for the sector, leading to the recovery of 1.3 million more jobs compared to the previous year. Our expert analysis shows that the economy has turned a corner and is firmly on the road to recovery,” she added.
WTTC forecasts a rosier decade ahead for the country in terms of economic growth.
“We forecast an average annual growth rate of 6.7% over the next ten years here in the Philippines, exceeding the PH expected overall economic average growth rate of 5.6%,” Simpson said.
The sector’s share to the Philippines’ GDP could be worth in excess of US$ 155 billion in 2032, accounting for 21.4% of the whole economy.
Simpson added that they are also forecasting good news on the employment front.
“Employment will grow annually by an average of 3% over the next 10 years, generating a critical 2.9 million new jobs which will account for 21.5% of all jobs in the Philippines,” she said.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed WTTC’s positive remarks. She is likewise optimistic that the country already sees the recovery of tourism given the relaxed restrictions on travelers and the reopening of the economy.
“In the nearly two years where international travel was put on hold, the Philippines has been busy preparing for the day when our country would be open to the world. We have put in place guidelines that will ensure the safety of our guests, our tourism workforce, and our community,” Puyat said in her speech.
She said the country’s hosting of the global conference “is a momentous occasion for the global tourism industry” as most nations are striving to revive and rediscover travel and the best practices and ways that could shape tourism’s future.
Puyat is hopeful that the three-day gathering will help raise awareness of the full economic and social impact of travel and tourism.
The tourism chief said it will shed light on the latest travel trends, sustainable investment prospects, meaningful human connections despite contactless interventions, environmental preservation, traveler confidence, seamless international mobility, and inequalities in the travel and tourism industry.