PSA: Tourism earns more than P1T in 2021 but still less than pre-pandemic levels
MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines gradually reopened, the tourism sector’s earnings increased to over P1 trillion in 2021 but remained far below P2.5-trillion in 2019 before the pandemic.
In a report on Thursday (June 16), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the tourism industry’s direct gross value added (TDGVA) in 2021 rose 9.2 percent from P917.2 billion in 2020.
At the onset of the prolonged pandemic, tourism revenue fell to its lowest level since 2012 as 75 percent of the economy stopped at the height of the longest and most stringent COVID-19 lockdowns. Besides closing to foreign tourists, domestic tourism took a hit as local governments also closed or tightened their borders to prevent COVID infections.
While last year’s tourism revenue improved, it was lower than the sector’s pre-pandemic annual earnings from 2014 to 2019, which were all above P1 trillion. In 2018 and 2019, tourism income even exceeded P2 trillion.
As a share to gross domestic product (GDP), tourism receipts slightly improved to 5.2 percent of GDP in 2021 from 5.1 percent in 2020.
However, tourism’s share to GDP was already in double-digits—or above 10 percent—in 2016 to 2019, including 2019’s record-high 12.9 percent of GDP before COVID-19 took its toll on the tourism sector.
Tourism jobs also returned slowly, as the 4.6-percent higher employment in 2021 to 4.9 million from 2020’s 4.7 million remained below 5 million jobs yearly in 2016 to 2019, including 2019’s highest-ever 5.7 million.
“Among the forms of tourism expenditures, domestic tourism expenditure posted the highest growth in 2021 at 38.7 percent, followed by outbound tourism expenditure at 27.1 percent,” the PSA said.
“On the other hand, inbound tourism expenditure recorded a decline of 79.2 percent. Internal tourism expenditure, comprising inbound and domestic tourism expenditure, grew by 16.3 percent,” the PSA added.
“Inbound tourism expenditure, which refers to the expenditure of non-resident visitors (foreign visitors and Filipinos permanently residing abroad) within the Philippines, shared 0.6 percent to the country’s total exports in 2021,” PSA said.
“On the other hand, domestic tourism expenditure, which covers expenditures of resident visitors within the country either as a domestic trip or part of an international trip, contributed 5.4 percent of the household final consumption expenditure,” it added.
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