THE Department of Tourism (DOT) expects the tourism industry to generate more than 5 million jobs next year and account for 9 percent to 10 percent of total employment generation in the country.
“For employment, we’re looking at 9 percent, hopefully 10 percent, of all employment in the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez told reporters on Monday.
“Right now, we have about 4.7 to 4.8 million directly employed. That is directly employed and does not include yet those who also earn from tourism like souvenir vendors. These are the ones directly employed in the hospitality industry, as guides, or in transportation,” he said.
“And then there is income. Right now, internationally we have close to $5 billion a year in income and about P1.1 trillion a year from domestic. So that’s $5 billion and P1.1 trillion more,” Jimenez explained.
“In 2016, we should be [earning]around over $6 billion. That’s where we should be. Pag tayo makatawid ng $6 billion, okay na tayo [Once we get past $6 billion, we are okay],” Jimenez said.
He said the actual figures for employment generated in the tourism industry is a little under 5 million who are directly employed, something like 4.8 million.
According to him, 5.2 to 5.3 million are directly employed in tourism.
“Well, that will be almost 10 percent of the total workforce,” he said.
The tourism chief also explained he was not downgrading the 10 million foreign tourist arrivals target for 2016.
“It is not the kind of number that you should downgrade because even if I was talking to people building the airports, my instructions would be prepare to receive more than 10 million. It does not help anybody for me to downgrade [the target],” he said.
“We are still aiming for the best. Even at less than 10 million, we are confident we will still hit our targets for revenue and our targets for employment. This is because of the quality of our arrivals (length of stay and spending per head) are at an all-time high,” he said.
Jimenez explained that this year, the 5.5 million tourist arrivals target is achievable.
“Our April growth was 9 percent. That’s the highest in the Asean region because the average it is only 6 percent,” he said.
For the month of May, Jimenez said “We will be trending upwards, not downwards, because May is the highest period for domestic travel.
“Medyo wild ang ating domestic market ngayon sobrang dami [Our domestic market today is a bit wild, there are too many travelers].”