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Travel, tourism sector boosts PH economy with US$82 B in 2018 – report

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By Philippine News Agency

Travel and tourism contributed US$82 billion to Philippine economy and was the country’s largest sector in 2018, having a 24.7-percent share in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a study by a global body that represents the private sector of travel and tourism.

This general shot shows a beach on the Philippine island of Boracay on October 25, 2018. - The Philippines re-opens its crown jewel resort island Boracay to holidaymakers on October 26, after a six-month clean up aimed at repairing the damage inflicted by years of unrestrained mass tourism. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

This general shot shows a beach on the Philippine island of Boracay. (NOEL CELIS / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Travel and tourism’s contribution to employment during 2018 was 26.4 percent, ahead of both Retail and Construction, at 20.4 percent and 15.7 percent respectively, and only just behind Agriculture (31.1 percent),” the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said in a report dated September 5 and released on Saturday, citing its own “benchmark” research.

“The report, sponsored by American Express, reveals that in the Philippines, of the sectors studied, Travel & Tourism is the largest sector in terms of GDP contribution, making up almost a quarter of country’s total GDP, ahead of Financial services (15.4 percent), Agriculture (14.8 percent), and Retail (14.8 percent),” it added.

“The industry has experienced incredible growth over the last nine years and WTTC commends the Philippines government for recognizing the importance of Travel & Tourism as a driver of economic growth and for their strategy in spreading the benefits of the industry across the country,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC.

4.8 million visitors

The steady growth of Philippine tourist arrivals is evident with the 4,852,107 foreigners who visited the country from January to July 2019, a 12.36 percent growth from the same period last year, according to latest figures released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat attributed the continuous upsurge to the sustained support from industry stakeholders, government, host communities, investors, and foreign travel trade counterparts.

“We remain inspired knowing that private sector, other government agencies, and civil society continue to support our sustainable tourism programs and the more fun brand campaign,” she said on Friday.

“The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and other convergence programs, on the other hand, are key to improving our competitiveness and attractiveness,” she added.

Romulo-Puyat asked the public to further support the government’s sustainable tourism efforts, not only in key destinations but in all areas to continually drive inbound traffic and spread the benefits of tourism to the countryside.

“After all, tourism is everybody’s business,” she pointed out.

According to the latest DOT data, South Korea remains the top tourist market with 1,113,274 arrivals followed by China with 1,038,409.

The United States with 663,116, Japan with 382,634 and Taiwan with 192,195 followed at third, fourth, and fifth spots, respectively.

Completing the top 12 markets are Australia (164,378), Canada (146,000), United Kingdom (125,371), Singapore (94,061), Malaysia (84,815), India (80,383), and Germany (62,179).

Benchmarking research

The “benchmarking” research from WTTC compares the industry’s economic impact to eight other key sectors, such as agriculture, mining, health, automotive manufacturing, retail, financial services, banking, and construction, across 26 countries and 10 world regions.

According to WTTC, the sector accounts for 10.4 percent or around USD8.8 trillion of the total global GDP in 2018.

On a world scale, travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP was 1.4 times higher than agriculture (7.7 percent), 1.5 times higher than banking (7.1 percent) and automotive manufacturing (6.8 percent), and 1.7 times higher than mining (6.0 percent).

Travel and Tourism was also the “fastest-growing sector in 2018″, increasing 3.9 percent, ahead of automotive manufacturing (3.7 percent) and health (3.3 percent), and higher than the global economy growth rate (3.2 percent) for the eighth consecutive year.

WTTC attributed to the continuous rise in the number of middle-class households, solid growth in global consumer spending, low unemployment rates, continuous rebound from security threats, currency depreciation and visa relaxation in several countries around the world the strong growth in travel and tourism.

“As we know and is now reaffirmed by this Benchmarking Research, the Travel and tourism sector is key for the country’s economy, underpinning much of spending and supporting millions of jobs,” Guevara said.

“You’ve got a government that’s 100 percent committed to it right from the president and from all the way down, you have a brilliant secretary who’s passionate about grassroots support for local people, all the great things about the Philippines, your food, your culture, your cuisine, your culinary aspect, and obviously having spent time in the agriculture and fisheries, she’s really got that understanding,” WTTC regional director for the Asia Pacific and the Middle East Nigel David told reporters in a recent interview.

“You know what you need to do so I think you’re well placed as a country to continue this success,” he added.

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