MANILA, Philippines – The steady growth in domestic travelers in the Philippines has helped stabilize the country’s tourism industry, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said on Thursday.
Jimenez said domestic tourism makes up about 70 to 80 percent of total tourism revenues.
In 2013, tourism revenues were over $4 billion. The Department of Tourism (DOT) expects this figure to rise to $6 billion this year, and $8 billion in 2016.
Jimenez noted that although the DOT has not met its targets in terms of number of tourists, the agency is on track to hit revenue targets.
“When you have a strong domestic tourism industry then the total industry is much more stable,” he told ANC.
“Travel in general, whether it is domestic or international for Filipinos, is now part of the 21st century lifestyle. The average lower to upper-middle income Filipino home now counts a vacation away from Manila as standard. Everyone gradually is getting on a plane,” he added.
Jimenez also said the growth in domestic tourism has also created more jobs in establishments and resorts registered with the DOT.
“We employ one person for every foreign tourist that we have. Because of the strong domestic business, you have over 4 million people directly employed in tourism,” he said.
The recent upgrade of Philippine aviation safety rating to Category 1 is also a boost to tourism not only for international flights but for domestic as well.
Jimenez said the downgrade to Category 2 in 2008 “affected the way people perceived travel domestically within the Philippines."