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Tourism share of GDP hits 18-year high in 2017

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Calle Crisologo
LocaL Tourists roam Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

By Christine J. S. Castañeda
Senior Researcher

THE TOURISM industry’s contribution to the economy was the highest in 18 years in 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

According to preliminary data compiled by the PSA, tourism’s direct gross value added (TDGVA) accounted for 12.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 higher than the sector’s 10.7% share in 2016.

TDGVA measures the tourism-related value created by various industries. Last year, the combined economic contribution of tourism activities was P1.929 trillion at current prices, up 24.2% from a year earlier.

The TDGVA indicator is based on the results of the Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts report, which the PSA compiles from the Department of Tourism.

Transportation had a 22.8% share of gross value added, followed by food and beverage services and entertainment and recreation services, which contributed at 20.9% each.

“The improvement in tourism’s share to GDP last year… was partly a result of more inbound tourists taking advantage of the relatively cheaper peso versus their local currencies as well as stronger domestic tourism spending amid manageable inflation,” said Angelo B. Taningco, economist at the Security Bank Corp.

Domestic tourism expenditures hit P2.645 trillion last year, up 25.5%. Domestic tourism expenditures were equivalent to 22.8% of household spending in 2017, according to the PSA.

Tourism expenditure by non-residents amounted to P448.6 billion in 2017, up 43.9%.

“Compared to the country’s total exports, the share of inbound tourism expenditure was 9.2%. Inbound tourism ranked third among the biggest export items in 2017, after semiconductors at 21.9% and miscellaneous services at 15.7%,” the PSA said.

Employment in the tourism industries was estimated at 5.3 million in 2017 or 13.1% of the total working population, up from 12.8% a year earlier.

Mr. Taningco added: “My tourism outlook for this year is somewhat positive as I expect healthy inbound tourism spending on the back of a cheaper peso but domestic tourism spending might be hampered a bit by domestic inflation rising sharply.”

The economist also said that the six-month closure of Boracay Island “will surely not contribute positively” to tourism output. “I think though that the negative effect would be marginal if the island’s shutdown is not more than six months,” he added.