"Coming at a time when the country is grappling with the most devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired by this report as it affirms the vital role of our tourism sector in contributing to the economic recovery of our nation," Puyat said in a statement, referring to the data released recently by the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA).
According to Puyat, the PSA report validates the tourism industry's crucial contribution to the economy in terms of productivity and employment generation.
Puyat expressed optimism that the industry, virtually crippled by the disruption of international and domestic travel, would recover and emerge stronger "with the strong support of our stakeholders and partners."
Citing PSA data, Puyat said the tourism direct gross value added (TDGVA) to the Philippine economy as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 12.7 percent in 2019.
PSA data showed the TDGVA amounted to 2.48 trillion pesos (roughly 49.54 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, higher by 10.8 percent compared to 2.24 trillion pesos (roughly 44.74 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018.
Both inbound and domestic tourism expenditure grew in 2019, the PSA said.
According to Puyat, the PSA's data showed that 14 out of 100 employed Filipinos were in tourism-related industries in 2019, noting that employment in tourism industries increased from 5.36 million to 5.71 million in 2019. "This translates to about 350,000 additional tourism-related jobs," she added.
"Annual growth in employment in tourism characteristic industries increases further in 2019," the PSA said.
The PSA said employment in tourism characteristic industries was estimated at 5.71 million in 2019, higher by 6.5 percent compared to 5.36 million in the previous year. Share of employment in tourism industries to total employment in the country was recorded at 13.5 percent, it added.
Tourism's contribution to the country's economy is defined as the TDGVA, the gross value added generated by tourism industries and other industries of the economy that directly serve visitors, the PSA said.
In 2017, the PSA said the share of the tourism industry to the economy was at 11.7 percent.