Due to the decreasing number of international tourists visiting the country last year, the Philippines lost about P400 billion in income.
According to Roberto Alabado III, OIC Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism, due to the travel restrictions enforced by the country to minimize the spread of the virus, foreign tourist arrivals went down by 82% in 2020, with only 1.3 million international tourists visiting compared in 2019 where around 8.3 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines.
Alabado said the decrease in the number of international tourist arrivals has affected 5.7 million jobs in the tourism industry nationwide.
"This is a very big blow because we approximately lost around P400 billion in income because of the missing foreign tourists," he said.
Alabado added that it is essential for the tourism industry to be revived, considering it contributes about 12.7% of the Philippines ' gross domestic product. He stressed that to help the Philippine economy recover, reviving tourism is a must.
In response to the loss of income in the tourism sector, the DOT has come up with a recovery plan to keep the tourism industry afloat amid the global health crisis.
This involves the following strategic framework:
- Secured livelihood and adequate social services
- Sustained business operations
- Appropriate infrastructure
- Enhanced marketing, market, and product development
- Timely and efficient institutional support
- Effective strategic communications
To encourage travelers to come and spend time in the regions, the Department put up tourism circuits, where travelers can visit many attractions in just one trip, he added.
Alabado said, to ensure the safety of tourists and tourism workers, minimum health and safety protocols are being strictly implemented.