2019 tourism receipts expand 20.8% to P482.15 billion

The famous Marlboro Hills of Batanes’s Batan Island, seen in this BusinessMirror file photo, offers a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and the dormant Mount Iraya and is a favorite among foreign tourists. The Department of Tourism is counting on domestic tourists to make up for the huge income drop that tourist-related businesses are expected to sustain with the spread of COVID-19.

THE Philippines earned $9.31 billion or P482.15 billion in tourism receipts last year, up 20.8 percent from the earnings in 2018, latest data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) show.

This represents a turnaround from the 2018 figure of $7.7 billion (P406.7 billion), which was 9 percent lower from 2017, owing to the six-month closure of the country’s tourism magnet, Boracay Island.

In a news statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said the constantly rising figures in inbound visitors and the corresponding income earned from their total spending in the country, confirms the importance of the tourism sector as a key economic driver.

“The Philippine tourism industry’s continued impressive performance dramatizes the dedication, hard work and resilience of its stakeholders through a most challenging year.

We count on the same enduring qualities to get us through the challenges this year,” she stressed.

Based on the total foreign visitor arrivals last year, this means each international tourist in the Philippines spent an average of $1,135.37, or some P59,000.

Puyat noted that each guest spent an average of $128.35 of P6,649 per day,  while the average per-capita expenditure spend is about $1,218.04 or P63,095 if he stayed 9.49 nights, the average length of stay of tourists last year, per data from the DOT Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management.

South Korea continued to be the top spender among key tourism markets of the Philippines, at $2.61 billion (P135 billion), up 8.75 percent from 2018. It was followed by tourists from mainland China who spent $2.33 billion (P120.7 billion), up 11 percent from 2018.

However, other top markets, like those from North America, Europe and Southeast Asia, posted much larger increases in spending in 2019.

While in third place, tourists from the United States, for instance, spent $1.21 billion (P62.7 billion) last year—an increase of 54.7 percent from their spending in 2018.

Among the other top spenders, tourists from Germany recorded the largest increase in expenditure at 69.31 percent to $131.61 million (P6.82 billion). The United Kingdom likewise posted a huge 61-percent increase in spending to $236.06 million (P12.23 billion). Malaysia saw a 45.81-percent increase in tourism spending in the Philippines, to $115.86 million (P6 billion).

Tourists from Canada spent $273.06 million (P14.14 billion) in 2019, a 36-percent increase from their spending in 2018. Australia also recorded a huge increase in tourism expenditures here at 26.2 percent to $271.43 million (P14.06 billion).

Japan was in fourth place among top spenders in 2019, but managed to eke out only a 10.42-percent increase to $467.14 million (P24.2 billion).

Of all the top source markets for tourists, only Taiwan recorded a decrease in spending by 8.08 percent to $252.10 million (P13.06 billion).

The DOT said, visitor spending grew by the double-digits from February to December 2019, with August posting the highest increase at 31.45 percent to $794.05 million (P41.13 billion). But the largest earnings by the tourism sector was recorded in the month of December at $872.13 million (P45.18 billion).

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