Sunday, April 21, 2024

First In Years: Philippines Posts Travel Surplus In 2023

First In Years: Philippines Posts Travel Surplus In 2023

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The Philippines posted a net trade surplus of USD2.45 billion in travel last year, meaning foreign visitors to the Philippines spent more than what Filipinos shelled out for travel abroad.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said this was a “first in 15 years” and sets an “optimistic tone” for the country’s steadily recovering tourism industry.

Based on the preliminary full-year data of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines successfully breached the USD100 billion export of goods and services mark.

The country, the DOT said, recorded USD2.45 billion in net trade surplus in travel services, with travel services export receipts reaching USD9.1 billion.

The goods and services Filipinos purchased while traveling overseas, on the other hand, stood at USD6.6 billion.

The DOT said the 2023 travel services export receipts have already reached 93.2 percent of the 2019 pre-pandemic level, pegged at USD9.78 billion.

The last time the Philippines registered a travel surplus was in 2007 at USD1.93 billion, the balance of payments from BSP showed.

“We welcome the latest numbers from the BSP report which sets an optimistic tone not just for the DOT, but to all our tourism stakeholders, and tourism leaders and shakers, even those who came before me, who have all worked tirelessly and shown nothing but resilience in the past difficult years,” Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said.

“As we continue to work towards achieving our targets for 2024 and the years to come, we endeavor to cement tourism’s position as a major economic pillar for the country,” she added.

According to the BSP, travel services in 2023 contributed an impressive 18.9 percent share to the country’s total service exports of USD48.28 billion.

Frasco, meanwhile, banked on the close coordination between the public and the private sectors to further reach Manila’s tourism goals under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023 to 2028.

For the DOT’s part, Frasco said the agency will continue strengthening its promotion efforts and feature more unique travel offerings for both its domestic and foreign markets.

The Philippines welcomed 5.45 million international visitors in 2023, successfully breaching its year-end target of 4.8 million. (PNA)