WTTC research reveals Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the Philippine’s GDP dropped by $37 billion in 2020

COVID-19 sparks a dramatic 41.4% fall in the sector’s contribution to GDP
More than two million jobs lost in 2020 due to the effect of the pandemic on the sector
The return of international travel this year could see GDP contribution rise by 48.5% and jobs recovered
Return of international travel will provide a much-needed boost to its economy

London, UK: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) today reveals the dramatic impact COVID-19 had on the Philippine’s Travel & Tourism sector last year, wiping out $37 billion from the nation’s economy.

The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, reveals the sector’s contribution to GDP dropped 41.4%.

Travel & Tourism’s impact on the nation’s GDP fell from an incredible USD$ 90 billion (22.5%) in 2019, to USD$ 52.8 billion (14.6%), just 12 months later, in 2020.

The year of damaging travel restrictions which brought much of international travel to a grinding halt, resulted in the loss of two million Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.

These job losses were felt across the entire Travel & Tourism ecosystem, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, particularly affected. 

However, WTTC believes the damage, although devastating, could have been much worse had the government not provided critical financial support to small businesses under the Small Business Wage Subsidy measure.

Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.

The number of people employed in the Philippine Travel & Tourism sector fell from more than 9.5 million in 2019, to less than 7.6 million in 2020 - a drop of more than a fifth (21.1%).

The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 35.5%, while international spending fared even worse due to more stringent global travel restrictions, falling by 78.8%.

Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President WTTC said: “The loss of two million Travel & Tourism jobs in the Philippines has had a terrible socio-economic impact however we are aware of the government’s strong commitment to our sector and believe that through their efforts in restarting tourism safely, these jobs will be restored.

“WTTC believes that a clear roadmap for increased mobility including comprehensive rapid testing in place, will bring the certainty needed and set Philippines in a path to recover the two million jobs lost.

“The Philippines adopted our Safe Travels stamp many months ago, which showed its commitment to the recovery of safe international travel. As the host of our next Global Summit, we are confident that over the coming months, its Travel & Tourism sector will begin to thrive again, which will in turn save businesses and jobs, and provide a much-needed boost to its economy.

“Furthermore, the Department of Tourism recently announced steps to boost its Travel & Tourism sector and, in turn, its economy, by introducing a ‘green lane’ policy for both national and international vaccinated travellers. This move is certainly a step in the right direction and will further aid the recovery.”

WTTC research shows that if mobility and international travel resume by June this year, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply in 2021, by 48.5%, year-on-year.

As it will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups, WTTC strongly believes that we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated.

WTTC says the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework which includes rapid testing, as well as enhanced health and hygiene protocols, including mask wearing. These measures will be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic.

It would also reduce the terrible social implications these losses have had on communities reliant on Travel & Tourism and upon ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID-19 restrictions.


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