By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

Local and foreign tourists in Boracay (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines is expected to recover its pre-pandemic level of foreign visitors, with arrivals predicted to reach 8.21 million by end of 2024, Fitch Solutions unit BMI said.

In an industry trend analysis dated Jan. 31, the BMI said the sector’s full recovery would likely be driven by increasing arrivals from key source markets in Asia, Europe and North America, primarily the United States.

“We retain our view that the Philippines’ tourist arrival levels will fully recover to their pre-pandemic levels in 2024, after the country recorded a strong 2023 with over 5 million tourists arriving over the full year,” it said.

The Fitch Solutions subsidiary forecasts the arrivals to grow by 64 percent year-on-year in 2024 to reach 8.21 million, higher than the 2019 arrivals of 8.19 million.

The arrivals will continue to expand over the period of 2024 to 2028 given the country’s relatively affordable tourism offerings, low level entry requirements and strong transport links, it added.

“We forecast the country’s arrivals to continue to increase over the remainder of our 2024-2028 forecast, reaching a projected 9.5 million arrivals in 2028. This represents an average annual growth rate of 15.8% y-o-y (year-on-year) over 2024-2028,” it said.

The BMI, meanwhile, said there are short-term risks to its outlook amid the heightened consumer inflation in the Philippines’ key source markets but expects the country to remain an attractive post-pandemic destination to tourists.

Inflationary pressures will likely ease over 2024 but consumers will remain price sensitive in the short term, the BMI said.

“[T]his is likely to be reflected in increased travel to domestic and short haul destinations, a trade down from long-haul international destinations, which have a higher price point,” it said.

“Nevertheless, the Philippines is a relatively affordable travel destination, and we expect it to particularly benefit from strong regional arrivals due to its proximity and strong transport links with its key Asia source markets,” it added.

The Philippines reached over 5 million foreign visitors last year, slightly higher than BMI’s projection of 4.9 million for 2023.

This year, the DOT has set a modest target of 7.7 million international arrivals. (PNA)