The country lost P400 billion in income last year as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic badly affected foreign tourism arrivals, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
DOT OIC-Undersecretary Roberto Alabado said foreign tourists visiting the country plunged to 1.3 million last year from the 8.3 million foreign visitors in 2019. He disclosed this during the the hearing of the House committee on Northern Luzon quadrangle on the status of the tourism sector in the region.
“This is a very big blow for us. We actually approximately lost around P400 billion in income because of the missing foreign tourists,” Alabado said.
He added the lower foreign tourist arrivals affected around 5.7 million jobs in the country.
With lower foreign tourist arrivals, the DOT has set its sight on promoting domestic tourism.
“If we compare the income in 2019 earned from the domestic market, we are counting on a P3-trillion market. This was what we heard in 2019,” Alabado said.
“So the easiest way to revive our tourism is through the domestic market. That’s why, right now, we are promoting and at the same time developing new products, timely and efficient institutional support, and effective strategic communication,” he further said.
The DOT is currently pushing for the reopening of a number of popular tourism destinations in the country, but with health protocols in place for visitors to contain the spread of Covid-19.