Philippine tourism takes a big hit

MANILA, 14 August 2020: Tourist arrivals to the Philippines slumped by 73% during the seven months of 2020 giving the country 1.3 million visits according to a Philippines News Agency report.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said the performance was down from 4,852,107 international tourists recorded during the same months in 2019. Tourism revenue dipped 72% to PHP81 billion.

Benito Bengzon, Tourism Undersecretary.

The big decline in tourism started in mid-March when travel restrictions were introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19.

With virtually no foreigners visiting the country for five months the country now relies entirely on domestic tourism to prop up earnings. PNA said the tourism undersecretary was optimistic local travel could compensate as the country opens for domestic tourism.

He claimed 10.8% of the country’s GDP could be attributed to domestic tourism. Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, domestic tourism expenditure reached PHP3.1 trillion while earnings from international inbound tourism reached PHP548.8 billion in 2019.

“We have a huge domestic tourism base. Last year, there were about 109 million domestic trips. And we’re very confident that as we open up destinations, it will be the local tourists who will create demand,” Bengzon added.

However, international tourism is not going to return to the Philippines any time soon despite talk of potential tourism bubbles that could tap travel from China. The country remains closed and the inbound tour operators are now facing a crisis.

Bengzon said the tourism sector is hoping to receive financial assistance through a bill being pushed through Congress.

Financial aid worth PHP10 billion will be allocated to the tourism industry under the proposed ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ (Bayanihan 2). In the approved House version, however, the amount originally appropriated for working capital loans was realigned to infrastructure, a move decried by various tourism stakeholders.

“We have been virtually shut down for close to 150 days with no source of income. Infrastructure development can resume as we head into normalcy, but for now, the priority for stakeholders is financial assistance in the various forms outlined in the provisions of the bill,” Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose Clemente III said earlier this week.

In a position paper, the Department of Tourism agreed that the sector needs more “direct” financial assistance and proposed that the reconciled version of the Senate and House bills provide PHP9.5 billion to finance DOT programmes for critically impacted businesses in the industry through low-interest loans.

(Source: PNA)


  1. I’m British and I am also waiting to get in to the Philippines so I can marry my girlfriend who is a widow with 3 school aged children. I have sold my house in the UK in order to build a house for my wife and children, so now I’m homeless in the UK living in temporary accommodation. I hope sanity returns soon.

  2. These people are not OK in their minds. How can domestic tourism revive if people are not even allowed to leave their province or island. They are just watching everything go down the drain with this covid scam.

  3. The STUPID “mandatory 14 day quarantine” needs to end. I had to cancel my 2 week vacation there to see my son for the first because of their STUPID mandatory 14 day quarantine. Here in the next few months when a lot of the local resorts and businesses close for good because they got a lot of business from foreign travelers,
    then they’ll realize to late that the STUPID mandatory 14 day quarantine was useless and helped bankrupt a lot of local businesses. All countries should require any traveler to have a card or statement saying they had the test done and results back 48 hours prior to boarding plane

  4. What has happened to Common Sense? There are lots of expats that got trapped out of the Philippines due to the Corona virus. I am one of these expats. The Philippines is my home and I am not allowed to return. My fiance and I built a home and a large boat which we were co-create a business. I am an America and I spend lots of pesos are the Philippines which helps the economy. My question is, why can’t the government figure out a solution to help us get back home. We’d love the Philippines and all we want to do back home being with our loved ones and enjoy the Filipino way. Please someone help us!

  5. Well, open up. Staying closed aint gonna help. just make it mandatory for foreigners to bring proof of negative test 72hours prior to leaving their country, and mandatory test on arrival and stay in hotel until test is confirmed negative.

    LET US BACK IN! I basically live there and ive been stuck homeless in USA for months now waiting to fly back.

    • I completely agree with this, everyone is opening up with some sort of safety measures, there are still spikes but things are not going out of control and their economies have an easier time.

      Sorry to hear you’re stranded by the way, I wish you all the best

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