PH TOURISM. (L-R) World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President Julia Simpson, Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Chairman Arnold Donald pose for posterity during the kickoff of the annual WTTC Global Summit at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City on Wednesday (April 20, 2022). WTTC said the Philippine tourism industry is "firmly" on the road to recovery. (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – The Philippine tourism industry is "firmly" on the road to recovery, with industry stakeholders forecasting that travel and tourism contribution to the economy will grow by 6.7 percent over the next 10 years.

The latest World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Economic Impact Report showed that travel and tourism in the Philippines have generated USD41 billion in 2021, representing 10.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

It also reported that the sector has recovered 1.3 million jobs in the same year, raising the country's total tourism workers to 7.8 million.

WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson, in a press conference, attributed the growth to domestic travel and government efforts to ease up restrictions in the country.

"The sector supported 7.8 million jobs in the Philippines, representing an impressive 20 percent rise from 2020. Our expert analysis shows that the economy here, the travel and tourism economy, has turned a corner and is firmly on the road to recovery," she said.

By 2032, the global tourism body predicts that Philippine travel and tourism contribution to GDP could be worth in excess of USD155 billion, accounting for 21.4 percent of the whole economy.

In the same press conference, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said government figures are quite different from WTTC data but assured that both the public and private stakeholders are working to bring back revenues and arrivals at pre-pandemic levels.

Citing figures from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Romulo-Puyat said the country received some 8.26 million foreign tourists in 2019, with domestic travel reaching about 110 million trips.

The sector, she said, contributed 12.8 percent to the country's GDP in the same year and went down to 5.4 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

"What we are just happy now is finally we are open, we've been open since February 10 and to all countries since April 1... I believe that in Asia we have the least number of restrictions. We have no more deaths upon arrival, no more quarantine," she said.

"We're hoping to make it simpler with regard to pre-pandemic levels. Of course, I don't think it can be as soon as the 2019 levels but at least we are getting there," she added. (PNA)