TRAVEL within the country among Filipinos has remained robust, according to the preliminary results of the 2016 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors (HSDV).

Three out of five Filipinos aged 15 years old and above traveled within the country, based on the survey conducted from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2016.

About 99 percent of the surveyed domestic tourists arranged their trips independently. Less than one percent availed of at least one domestic package tour. Each domestic traveler made two trips on average during the period.

The survey also showed that there were more female domestic travelers than males. The median age of domestic travelers was 34 years old, with about 52 percent belonging to the age group of 15 to 34 years old.

The HSDV 2016 is the fifth in the series since 2005. The primary objective of the survey is to gather updated household and individual level data on domestic and international visitors for policymaking purposes. It is jointly conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Department of Tourism.

The survey further revealed that about two-fifths of the domestic visitors traveled for pleasure or a vacation, while three in 10 local tourists were visiting friends or relatives, and six percent went on a religious or pilgrimage trip.

About half of the travelers who traveled for pleasure or a vacation stayed in the homes of friends or relatives during their most recent trip, while about one-fourth stayed in resorts and about one in 10 booked in hotels.

Majority or 79 percent of the independent domestic visitors spent an average of P476 on land transportation, and P5,179 on air transportation from origin to destination. About 55 percent of them spent on shopping, 42 percent on food and beverage, and one-fifth on local transport.

Moreover, three in 10 domestic travelers stayed overnight in the places they visited during their most recent trip, for an average of five nights. About 40 percent of them stayed for two to three nights.

As for outbound Filipino travelers, the survey showed that some 245,000 Filipinos traveled outside the country during the period.

China, including Hong Kong, was the top country visited by outbound travelers with an estimated share of 28.1 percent. This was followed by Malaysia with 10.7 percent, Japan (9.7 percent), USA (9.5 percent) and Singapore (8.3 percent).

An outbound traveler spent around P50,800 and stayed for 17 nights on average.

According to the report of PSA released last June 8, the contribution of tourism to the Philippine economy was estimated at 8.6 percent in 2016.

The tourism direct gross value added amounted to P1,243.5 billion in 2016, higher by 13.7 percent compared to the previous year’s P1,093.4 billion.

Domestic tourism expenditure, which includes the expenditure of resident visitors within the country either as a domestic trip or part of an international trip, grew 19.1 percent, from P1,770.7 billion in 2015 to P2,108.2 billion in 2016.

Domestic tourism expenditure represented 19.8 percent of the household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) in 2016.

On the other hand, inbound tourism expenditure, which refers to the expenditure of non-resident visitors (foreign visitors and Filipinos permanently residing abroad) within the Philippines, grew by 2.3 percent in 2016, amounting to P313.6 billion from P306.6 billion in 2015.

Of the country’s total exports, the share of inbound tourism expenditure was 7.7 percent. Inbound tourism ranked third among the biggest export items in 2016, after services at 34.1 percent and semiconductors at 20.9 percent.

By 2022, the Duterte administration targets to welcome 12 million foreign tourists and grow its domestic tourism to 89.2 million.

Foreign arrivals stood at 5.9 million in 2016, while domestic arrivals reached 65 million in 2015. (KOC)