Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been a driving force in the Philippine economy for many years, and their contributions have extended beyond remittances. Many OFWs who work for extended periods often seek a chance to return home at the best possible times, such as during vacations. This excitement to make the most of their time with their loved ones has thus become a significant contributor to the country's tourism industry.
With families projected to be a dynamic force in post-pandemic travel, OFWs are expected to boost growth through increased transfers to finance more of their families’ leisure activities while abroad. This is on top of their own demand for travel during visits 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," said 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.
In line with this, the Department of Tourism (DOT) eyes OFWs as key players in boosting tourism and the local economy—and initiatives to maximize this opportunity go beyond the summer season.
Recently, Philippine consulates in the United States partnered with the DOT to bring back special tours for migrants this July. The tour will have stops in Manila, Iloilo, and Boracay, plus opportunities to meet with Philippine officials.
Active tourism translates to more jobs, higher incomes, and greater economic activity in local communities. Back in 2019, the sector accounted for 12.7% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. From February to September 2022, visitor arrivals to the Philippines brought in more than P100.7 billion in revenue, marking a significant increase of 1,938% compared to the P4.94 billion recorded during 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,” Melivo said.
Additionally, recent data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that money sent home by OFWs increased by 2.4% percent year-on-year, amounting to USD2.569 billion in February.
“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.