PhilippinesThird biggest export in 2017.

Tourism giving Philippine economy a boost

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El Nido, Palawan, a key growth destination for Philippine tourism.
El Nido, Palawan, a key growth destination for Philippine tourism. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Data released by the government’s statistics agency PSA showed that Philippine tourism contributed 12.2% to the local economy in 2017, and US$37 billion in terms of value – 24.2% higher than the previous year.

Tourism is slowly but surely becoming a major sector in the Philippine economy as the inbound sector contribution grew by 44% to US$8.62 billion last year.

Data released by the government’s statistics agency PSA showed that Philippine tourism contributed 12.2% to the local economy in 2017, and US$37 billion in terms of value – 24.2% higher than the previous year.

Inbound tourism expenditure accounted for 9.2% of total exports, the PSA said.

Domestic tourism spending grew by 25.5% to US$52 billion representing 23% of household consumption spending.

Employment in tourism and allied industries was five million, 13% of total employment.

Last year, foreign arrivals reached 6.62 million, up 11% from the previous year's arrivals of 5.9 million.

Improved air routes and more cruise calls, together with travel infrastructure development, travel facilitation, product development and tourism investments drummed up the tourism industry last year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

South Korea remained the country's top market but China showed robust growth, boosted by closer diplomatic ties between Manila and Beijing, more flights, and immigration initiatives such as the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) option for Chinese nationals.

The tourism boom has also given the Philippine property sector a strong push as developers invest in accommodation facilities. Major players like Ayala Land, Filinvest Land, and Megaworld have unveiled expansion plans in key hubs like Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao City, as well as tourist destinations like Palawan and Bohol.


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