The Philippines is ranked by the World and Trade Tourism Council as No.67 ofÂ 184 nations, indicating that Tourism is a major force in RPâ€™s economy as well.Â The same council said foreign visitors spent P256-B in 2014 here representing 69% of the countryâ€™sÂ total dollar earnings while the P533-B value is 4.2% of theÂ countryâ€™s GDP.
Meantime, DOT (Department of Tourism) secretary Ramon Jimenez claims that RP made a tourism â€“ related Â income of US$ 5-B from foreign tourists and P1-Trillion form domestic visitorsÂ in 2014. He figures that next yearâ€™s foreign figures should tally US$ 6-B and anything beyond that is already a â€œmajor break throughâ€ for the country.
The country had already given up its ambitious target of 10 million tourists in 2016Â (content with just Â 6 million ) butÂ focused instead on revenues generated which is a function of the number ofÂ days a tourists stays and the average expenditure he makes while here.
Tourism directly employs 4.9 million Filipinos representing about 11% of the total work force not counting the indirect workers in the food and drink suppliers to the industry.Â Thus,Â Tourism is the fifth largest employer industry. According to Jimenez, Tourism is also the third largest dollar earning industry, next to the BPO which the country now lords over globally eclipsing erstwhile leader India.
The Philippine Statistical Authority, on the other hand, has another method ofÂ measuringÂ Tourismâ€™s contribution via the (TDGVA) Total Direct Gross Value Added measurement versus the GDP.Â In 2014, this TDGVA from foreign receipts was atÂ US$20.7B from foreign tourists and P983-B for local tourists â€“ reflecting direct tourism value added and the â€œwiderÂ effects of foreign investment, the supply chain and induced income impact”.
A 14% increase from 2013 levels, this represents 7.8% of GDP, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority.Â The contirbutions came from Accommodation (32%), Shopping (15.6%), Miscellaneous (15%), Transportation (13%) Entertainment and Recreation (10%) Travel agents and tour operators (8%) and Food and Beverage only a low (4.7%).
Government has responded in kind.Â The 2016 budget for Tourism is P3.6-B which is 44% higher than 2013â€™s P2.5-B, in fact, the government had already invested a total of P54-B in â€œtourism-relatedâ€ roads under the aegis of the Aquino administration.Â â€œThe Tourism Department has a separate Road Budget which it implements in coordination with the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways)â€ according to the DOT chief.
He has always said â€œItâ€™s More fun in the Philippinesâ€ and its partly because of its friendly, caring and English speaking Filipinos. â€œThe Philippines, is its people , its people are the Philippines” Jimenez said and Â that many in the Philippines will â€œwork without pay if it means bringing tourists to their respectiveÂ places.â€
Finally, the Philippines also pridesÂ itself with the Eco-Tourism and Medical Tourism sub-sectors in the industry.
Ecotourism is buttressed by the fact that the country has been named among the Top 25 nations with the most bio-diversified species of fauna and fora. Of the 30 million hectares of land. 15.8 million are tropical forests.Â Its 7,101 islands have 586 bird species. 180 mammals and 293 reptiles and amphibians. 67% of which, scientists claim are notÂ found anywhere else in the world.Â And many more are still being discovered.
Medical tourism, on the other hand, Â is here in the presence of high quality, cost effective health care centers and hospital, the best of which can be at par with the best in the world Â â€“ added to the unique caring attitude of Filipino medical practitioners and their associates.
Given our natural assets bequeathed by Mother Nature and a people as if born to play hosts to visitors all year long, Philippine Tourism will be a mahor asset in the countryâ€™s economic Balance sheet over the long haul.
For comments: email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
(ByÂ Zoilo Â “Bingo” Â P.Â Dejaresco III)