Tourism is a very important economic sector in the Philippines. It is the third highest contributor to the country’s GDP at over 10%. This is the reason why the Philippine president and this current administration has paid special attention to growing and supporting tourism both indirectly (through infrastructure projects, and local government support among other things) and directly (through direct intervention in the rehabilitation of tourism areas, and very well budgeted government tourism programs).
Tourist arrivals in the Philippines from 2015 to 2018 grew at around 11% per year (each year) to an estimated 7.4 million for 2018.
Tourist attractions in the Philippines include beaches, heritage towns including festivals and indigenous traditions and heritage monuments, mountains, rainforests, and, islands including diving spots and surfing destinations.
Popular destinations include: Boracay, Siargao (pronounced as shar-gaw), Palawan, Manila, Cebu and Davao. The last 3 are also the 3 largest metropolitan cities in the country.
Boracay captures 25% of total tourist spend in the Philippines from 2013-2015. Lately, that share has reduced due to gaining popularity of other destinations in the country. Siargao is gaining popularity as a surfing destination at a very rapid pace. Palawan is home to many world class resorts, beautiful beaches, and many destinations for both water and nature adventures.
Manila, Cebu and Davao are the 3 biggest cities in the Philippines and main urban centers for the 3 major island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao respectively. These are also the oldest cities in the country and the site of the Philippine’s rich cultural heritage. Manila and Cebu contribute the most to tourist arrivals because these have more developed International Airports for many years.