For numerous years, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have played a crucial role in propelling the Philippine economy, not limited to their remittances. Those who spend an extended period working abroad frequently desire to come back home during holidays to maximize their time with family and loved ones, and this eagerness has significantly impacted the country’s tourism industry.
As families are expected to be a significant driver of post-pandemic travel, OFWs are anticipated to spur growth by providing increased transfers to fund their families’ leisure pursuits while abroad. This is in addition to their own travel requirements when visiting home.
“OFWs are one of the largest contributors to our local economy. As more of them return home, we can expect a boost in tourism dollars to further provide lift to the overall economy on top of their vital remittances,” according to Earl Melivo, Head of APAC at WorldRemit.
Contributions like these are pivotal in sustaining the growth of the tourism industry with the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government is set on riding this momentum.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is targeting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as significant contributors to the growth of tourism and the local economy, and their efforts extend beyond the summer season.
In collaboration with Philippine consulates in the United States, the DOT has recently organized special tours for migrants in July, covering destinations such as Manila, Iloilo, and Boracay, and offering opportunities to interact with Philippine officials.
This active tourism approach creates more jobs, increases incomes, and boosts economic activity in local communities. In 2019, the sector accounted for 12.7% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. In 2022, from February to September, visitor arrivals in the Philippines generated more than PHP100.7B in revenue, representing a remarkable surge of 1,938% compared to the PHP4.94B recorded in the same period in 2021.
“We are proud to enable OFWs to participate in the revival of the Philippines economy and support loved ones back home. With a projected uptick in household income and discretionary spending, OFWs and their families are poised to boost not only key industries but also national economic activity throughout the year,” Melivo added.
In February 2023, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a 2.4% year-on-year increase in remittances from OFWs, that’s a total of USD2.569B.