WTTC Economic Impact Report reveals significant recovery of PH tourism amid COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat (center) together with (WTTC) President and CEO Julia Simpson (left) and WTTC Chair and President & CEO of Carnival Corporation Arnold Donald (right) welcome delegates of the 21st WTTC Global Summit during the opening press conference held Wednesday, April 20 at the Marriott Hotel. AJPress photo by Momar G. Visaya

THE World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is bullish on the prospect of the Philippines’ tourism industry recovery, projecting a bright future and a rosy outlook in terms of economic growth and employment generation in the next 10 years.

Citing the latest Economic Impact Report, WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer Julia Simpson revealed that the embattled travel and tourism industry in the country reached US$ 41 billion in 2021, climbing 129.5.% year on year.

In the opening press conference of the 21st WTTC Global Summit held at the Marriott Hotel, Simpson lauded the leadership of Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat for her continuous efforts to revitalize the tourism industry of the Philippines, which has been steadily recovering despite the ongoing global health concern.

“Our expert analysis shows that the travel and tourism economy has turned a corner, and is firmly on the road to recovery. This growth was primarily built on domestic travels and very much pioneered and led by Secretary Bernadette,” Simpson said.

According to said Economic Impact Report (EIR) for the Philippines, the sector supported 7.8 million jobs, representing a substantial 20.5% rise in 2020, compared with a global increase of 6.7%.

“In the nearly two years where international travel was put on hold, the Philippines has been busy preparing for the day when our country would be open to the world. We have put in place guidelines that will ensure the safety of our guests, our tourism workforce, and our community,” Puyat shared.

The Philippines has been open to visa-free countries since February 10 and all countries since April 1. Up until April 17, she said the country received about 270,000 foreign arrivals adding that the country has the least number of restrictions.

“Ultimately, through this summit, we hope to raise awareness of the full economic and social impact of travel and tourism. We also want to assure everyone, especially our foreign guests, that your safety and well-being is our priority,” the Tourism Secretary emphasized.

WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson (left) on Wednesday, April 20 shared about the Council’s promising projections for tourism recovery in the Philippines enclosed in its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) done in partnership with Oxford Economics. Simpson also recognized DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat (center) for her leadership and efforts to continue to steer the country’s tourism industry to recovery, which included the push for border reopening and lifting of restrictions to allow a seamless process for visitors. AJPress Photo by Momar G. Visaya

Considered one of the most influential Travel & Tourism events worldwide, the WTTC Global Summit is an annual gathering of the entire spectrum of the industry, including airlines and airports, hotels and hospitality groups, tour operators and retail travel agents, online distributors, cruise lines, investment companies, insurance groups, and the technology industry.

“Looking ahead, we forecast an average annual growth rate of 6.7% over the next 10 years, exceeding the expected country’s overall economy average growth rate of just 5.6%,” Simpson said.“We also forecast employment will grow annually by an average of 3% over the next 10 years, generating 2.9 million new jobs, accounting for 21.5% of all jobs in the Philippines.”

Before the pandemic, the Philippines Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 22.5% of the total economy (worth US$92.6 billion). However, due to damaging travel restrictions, it then plunged by 80.7% to a mere US$ 17.8 billion, dropping to just a 4.8% share towards the country’s GDP.

But in 2021 this rose to US$ 41 billion, representing a 10.4% share of the nation’s total economy, which signals the recovery of the sector is well underway.n

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at momar.visaya@asianjournalinc.com.

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