THE tourism industry earned some P245 billion during the first semester of 2019, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

The DoT on Friday reported that inbound tourism revenue reached P245 billion from January to June this year. The report comes after the DoT said earlier this week that 4,133,050 foreign tourists arrived in the Philippines last semester, 11.43% more than a year ago. That compares to a goal of 8.2 million for this year set under the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022.

“The corresponding total receipts from the six-month arrivals increased by 17.57% from the half-year gross revenues in 2018,” the DoT said in a statement Friday.

Revenues in June 2019 alone were an estimated P38 billion, 30.56% higher than that recorded in June 2018. Tourist spending per head increased 30.97% in June 2019 ($1,086.61 or P57,004.10) compared to June 2018.

The DoT also said that according to its visitor sample survey, this June the average tourist’s daily spend was $120.60, 28.64% more than the same month last year. Tourists also stayed 9.01 nights, up 1.81% compared to June 2018.

The DoT statement quoted Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as saying, “These economic numbers are exciting but the real purpose of why the government is working hard to push these numbers up year after year is for the Filipino people… At the end of the day, it is the number of lives changed for the better by tourism that would truly count.”

She said that “Tourism in 2018 was responsible for 5.4 million jobs…, contributing 12.7% or P22.2 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.” — Gillian M. Cortez