Tourist arrivals projected at 8.21 million in 2024 by BMI

FITCH SOLUTIONS unit BMI Research said Philippine tourist arrivals are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year after a strong 2023 performance.

In a commentary, BMI said that it projects tourist arrivals at 8.21 million this year, outperforming 2023 and 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.

“The country’s continued recovery from the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be driven by increasing arrivals from key source markets in Asia, Europe and North America, primarily the US,” it added.

The research firm said growth will primarily be driven by visitors from South Korea, China, the US, Japan, and Australia.

“We forecast arrivals to continue to increase over the remainder of our 2024-2028 forecast, reaching a projected 9.5 million arrivals in 2028,” it added.

BMI said that despite the projected average annual growth rate of 15.8% from 2024 to 2028 in tourist arrivals, the country faces short term risks, particularly inflation.

“We note that there are short term risks to our outlook for the Philippines arrivals stemming from heightened consumer inflation in the Philippine’s key source markets,” it said.

“We expect inflationary pressures to ease over 2024, but consumers will remain price sensitive in the short term, and this is likely to be reflected in increased travel to domestic and short-haul destinations, trading down from long-haul international destinations, which have a higher price point,” it added.

However, BMI said that it remains bullish as the country remains a relatively affordable destination and is likely to benefit from strong regional arrivals.

The Department of Tourism reported tourist arrivals for 2023 of 5 million, which represents 61.1% of pre-pandemic levels of 8.19 million.

BMI said that this was slightly higher than its expectations for 2023, which was 4.9 million arrivals. — Justine Irish D. Tabile