Philippine tourism's GDP share falls in 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic gutted the tourism industry, the contribution of tourism activities to the Philippine economy dropped in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Monday, July 19.

In a briefing, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the tourism direct gross value added or TDGVA fell to 5.4% from 12.8% in 2019.

For the past five years, the average share of tourism to the Philippine economy was at 10.5%.

Mapa also said individuals employed in the industry dropped by almost a fifth or 18.1% to 4.68 million people in 2020, from the 5.72 million in 2019.

In 2020, the government barred travel to the Philippines for leisure. Only foreigners with official business, spouses of Filipinos, and dual citizens, among others, were allowed to enter the country.

Instead, the Department of Tourism (DOT) started promoting domestic travel, subject to health protocols implemented by the local government unit of the destination.

Warner Andrada, officer-in-charge of the DOT's Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research, and Information Management, said the estimated domestic trips plunged by 77.9% in 2020 to 24.25 million.

Among the regions, Andrada said Central Visayas had the highest number of overnight travelers at 1.8 million, followed by Metro Manila at 1.69 million.

The Philippine government started opening up tourism destinations when coronavirus cases eased in 2020. When cases spiked again, leisure travel was allowed only in areas with the loosest quarantine classification.

Because of the Philippines' vaccination progress, the national government's coronavirus task force finalized its rules for domestic travel in early July, allowing fully vaccinated people to show their vaccine card in lieu of testing.

As it stands, foreigners are still not allowed to enter the Philippines for tourism. But the government, so far, has released a list of "green" countries that would be covered by more relaxed quarantine rules. (LIST: If you get vaccinated in these countries, you get shorter quarantine period in PH) – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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