The Philippine Star

Weaker peso to spur tourist spending


A weaker peso is seen boosting tourism receipts as foreign tourists spend more as they get more value for they money, an official of the Department of Tourism(DOT) said.

“A stronger US dollar against the Philippine peso will mean more purchasing power for foreign tourists visiting the country,” Tourism Undersecre­tary Benito Bengzon told The STAR.

Last Thursday the peso closed at a fresh 12-year low of 53.515 to $1, four centavos lower from the 53.475 recorded the previous day. This was the lowest since the peso finished at 53.55 to $1 on June 29, 2006.

Data showed visitor receipts nearly doubled in the first two months of the year to P78.82 billion from P40.08 billion in the same period last year.

This was driven by the Korean market with a total of P21.98 billion worth of receipts in the first two months of 2018.

Colliers Internatio­nal Philippine­s Research manager Joey Roi Bondoc echoed Bengzon’s sentiment as he emphasized that the strong US dollar may allow tourists to stay longer in the country.

“An American tourist’s dollar, for instance, can buy more pesos so this should translate to purchase of more souvenirs and longer stay,” Bondoc told The STAR.

He added households receiving remittance­s would also benefit as well as returning OFWs, which should drive the staycation market.

“This aside from the fact that average daily rates of foreign branded hotels in Manila are relatively cheaper compared to other major cities in Asia,” Bondoc said.

Bondoc said a weaker peso would make the tourism sector more pricecompe­titive, which will help the sector achieve it’s target of 7.4 million internatio­nal tourists this year.

DOT has not released an official target for its visitor receipts, but it earlier said it is targeting higher-spending markets such as China.

While the weaker peso may help make the country more price-competitiv­e, Bengzon said there is still a need to improve the products of the sector.

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