Pandemic shrinks tourism’s contribution to economy in 2020

Coronavirus lockdowns that grounded planes and emptied hotels and resorts made tourism an unreliable economic engine last year, and recovery would highly depend on how fast the Philippines can exit the pandemic.

Tourism direct gross value added accounted for 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product last year, significantly smaller than the industry’s 12.8 percent share in 2019, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority released June 16 showed.

In absolute terms, the tourism sector’s total contribution to the economy last year amounted to 973 billion pesos only, plummeting 61 percent year-on-year. While the slump was significant, it was nevertheless expected after the Duterte administration sealed off the country’s borders last year in a desperate bid to arrest the coronavirus spread.

For Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING Bank in Manila, the road to recovery would be a fragile one for tourism.

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