Domestic tourism will most likely begin to revive next year, but international travel will have to wait until 2024, according to a worldwide think tank.
Domestic travel will be the saving grace of tourism in the Philippines and other major locations in the Asia Pacific region, according to a report by UK-based Oxford Economics.
Last year, the tourism industry was one of the hardest impacted sectors in the world, as the pandemic halted travel and leisure vacations to stop the virus from spreading and spawning new variants.
For 2021, both local and international travel remained limited as many countries, including the Philippines, reimposed lockdown measures due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and slower vaccine rollout.
However, Oxford’s Asia Pacific lead economist Michael Shoory said domestic visitors are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels next year.
“The domestic market will drive the recovery in aggregate tourism, such that total visitors return to or exceed 2019 volumes next year,” he said.
“By contrast, inbound travel is projected to remain heavily affected for many destinations and will not recover until 2024 for the region and as late as 2025 for some individual destinations,” Shoory said.
For the Philippines, Oxford estimates that domestic travelers will account for almost 80 percent of tourists by next year. This is higher than the pre-pandemic level of over 60 percent.
Tourism in the Philippines remains heavily dependent on the domestic market. In terms of expenditures, domestic tourism accounted for 84 percent of the total P3.74 trillion receipts in 2019.
Domestic tourism, on the other hand, is hampered by domestic guests’ normally shorter average length of stay and lower average spending during predicted international travel weakness, according to Shoory.
By 2022, growth will be recorded at eight percent and will further increase to 29 and 39 percent by 2023 and 2024, respectively. It should be noted that all these will be driven by the domestic market.
“We assume that 90 percent of the pre-pandemic domestic market returns by 2022 and around half of the decline in outbound trips from 2019 to 2022 are converted to domestic travel,” Shoory said.