Affordable fares, shopping boost tourism share in PH economy

Katherine Visconti

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(UPDATED) Shopping and competitive airline fares have contributed to the increasing significance of tourism to Philippine economy

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – For the past 11 years, tourism has been growing as a significant source of revenues and jobs, a recent report showed.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that the share of the tourism industry’s direct gross value added (TDGVA) to the economy averaged 5.8% from 2000-2010. 

CONTRIBUTION TO GDP. Courtesy of National Statistical Coordination Board.

In 2010, TDGVA stood at exactly 5.8% of GDP, reaching P518.5 billion. This is equivalent to about twice as much money poured by tourism into the economy as foreign direct investments, a traditional job generator and vote of confidence to the country. 

Remittances, another external source of funds and has been a dollar-earner for decades, contributed more to the economy than tourism. NSCB said it provided an estimated 9.3% share of GDP in 2010, equivalent to roughly P845.9 billion (or $18.76 billion).

The Philippine government has been trying to boost tourism as a potential source of direct and alternative source of income, jobs, as well as a dollar-earner for the country. 

Shopping and jobs

Shopping was the main activity of tourists that contributed the most to total tourism receipts. Shopping accounted for 20.3% of tourism spending, followed by accommodation at 14.8%, recreation and entertainment at 6.8%.

According to NSCB, foreign tourists spent P100.2 billion in 2010, up 9.6% from P99.7 billion in 2009.

Of this, they spent over P30 billion for shopping (28.3% of total spending), another P30 billion for food and beverage (28.3%), and almost P24 billion for accommodation (21.8%).

The following benefited from tourism-related activities as well: travel agencies (5.6%), food and beverage (5.3%), transport (3.5%), and miscellaneous (0.9%).

Tourism is also adding more jobs to the economy at a fairly constant rate. From 2000-2010, employment in the industry grew at an average of 3.7% a year. In 2010, tourist employment rose 4.1% from the previous year.

It provided jobs to 9.7% of the country’s total unemployed from 2000 to 2010.

Domestic tourism

NSCB noted that the total spending of domestic tourists, or Filipinos who travel within the country, are about 6 times as much as the foreign tourists’.

Domestic tourism expenditures grew 15.1% in 2010. In 2009, the year the global crisis was in full-bloom, domestic tourism spending grew by a paltry 2.7%.

The NSCB attributed the dramatic rise of Filipino travellers and their spending to the competitive rates offered by various airlines and shipping lines as well as holiday economics.


The Department of Tourism (DOT) is aiming to increase tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2016, and with it, the revenue that visitors bring into the country.

The new target is a big jump with DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez shooting for 4.2 million arrivals in 2012, up from 3.7 million in 2011.

Since tourism’s contribution to the economy has stayed relatively constant, the new targets may finally pull the country out of the 5.8% range. –

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