“Transitioning to the Next Administration”, published on May 17, 2022 in his column “Business and Society” in the Manila Bulletin, CRC Director for Research Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas shares pointers on the best course to further strengthen the country’s tourism which will greatly contribute to the Philippines’ GDP growth.

“Once these obvious measures that address the immediate response to the waning of the pandemic are implemented, the highest priority of the Government should be given to two areas of concern:  the attraction of long-term equity capital, both domestic and foreign to key sectors of the Philippine economy, and the increase of agricultural productivity.”

Special attention was given to the domestic tourism sector that already has shown signs of a very strong rebound. Let me emphasize, though, that to immediately benefit all the establishments, both large and small in the travel and leisure industry, we should focus on the potential market of some 60 million middle-income Filipinos who were travelling from their respective homes to other places within the Philippine Archipelago before the pandemic.

Filipinos are among the most travel-itchy people in the world.  Especially after being couped up for two long years, they are more than ready to indulge in “revenge traveling.”  The next Administration should focus on policies and programs that will immediately stimulate domestic tourism, especially in the Ilocos region or the Bicol region, depending on which of the two most probable winners will be elected President. After the OFW remittances and the earnings of the BPO-IT sector, the travel and tourism industry are the third strongest engine of growth, accounting for some 12% of GDP.

… The EO recommended that the government shift the focus of decision making and government reporting to “empowering metrics” such as the total number of severe and critical COVID-19 cases, case fatality ratio, and total vaccinations. This will help the government to avoid unnecessary changes in alert levels and encourage people to be vaccinated. The correlation between avoiding the epidemic of fear and the recovery of the national economy was already demonstrated during the last quarter of 2021 when GDP grew at 5.7%.
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