Travel, tourism seen exceeding 2019 GDP contribution this year

THE Philippine travel and tourism industry is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic performance with an over P5.4 trillion contribution to the economy in 2024, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said.

Citing its 2024 Economic Impact Research, WTTC said that 2024 will be a record-breaking year for the industry’s economic contribution, job generation, and visitor spending.

“According to the latest data, the sector’s contribution to the national economy is set to surpass P5.4 trillion this year, marking almost 25% year-on-year growth and soaring 7.1% above the previous 2019 peak,” the WTTC said.

It said travel and tourism currently represent 21.3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

“This data also signals a remarkable year for employment, growing beyond the 2019 peak to surpass 9.5 million jobs, or 20% of the national workforce,” it added.

The WTTC said international and domestic visitor spending is expected to beat records in 2024, exceeding 2019 levels by 5.7% and 1.8%, respectively.

“The remarkable progress of the Philippines’ travel and tourism sector highlights the government’s dedication, putting it at the forefront of its national agenda and continuing to improve infrastructure,” WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer Julia Simpson said.

“This unwavering commitment has not only driven economic growth but also enhanced the global standing of the Philippines as a top travel destination,” she added.

In the next decade, the WTTC forecasts Philippine travel and tourism to increase its annual GDP contribution to P9.5 trillion, or nearly 22% of the economy.

Meanwhile, employment in the industry is projected to exceed 11.9 million by 2034.

Travel and tourism accounted for P4.34 trillion in economic output last year, 14% below 2019 levels.

In 2023, the industry created more than 608,000 jobs, bringing the total to 9 million, also still below 2019 level.

“Domestic demand… was sluggish, while the late reopening of borders resulted in a slower than expected recovery last year,” the WTTC said.

Last year, international and domestic spending grew 104.2% and 83.4% to P630 billion and P2.9 trillion, respectively.

As a region, WTTC expects travel and tourism in Southeast Asia to grow by 20.6% to P21 trillion this year, accounting for 9.7% of the region’s economy, while jobs are expected to reach over 42.4 million.

Although domestic visitor spending is expected to surpass 2019 levels and grow 15.8% to P10.3 trillion in the region, international spending is seen to grow 33.2% to P8.6 trillion, still below 2019 levels.

“WTTC is forecasting that travel and tourism across the region will continue to grow over the next decade, with the GDP contribution set to reach almost P36 trillion,” WTTC said.

“Jobs are forecast to exceed 56.5 million, creating more than 14 million new jobs,” it added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile