Tourism, construction expected to drive growth this year — NEDA

Tourism, construction expected to drive growth this year — NEDA

ECONOMIC GROWTH this year will be driven by a rebound in tourism and construction, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“In our case, we have drivers of growth that we are pushing for, like international tourism. We think that that will be another driver of growth this year. And then of course, construction in terms of the Build Better More and our public mass housing project… will be a big factor in accelerating growth,” Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said on the sidelines of a briefing on Wednesday.

The government is targeting 6.5-7.5% growth this year, reducing the upside from its previous target of 6.5-8%.

In the nine months to November, gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.5%. To meet the lower end of the government’s 6-7% goal for 2023, the economy would need to grow by 7.2% in the fourth quarter.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will release fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 GDP data on Jan. 31.

The Department of Tourism has said that the tourism industry generated P404.02 billion in revenue in the 10 months to October, up 190%.

The government hopes to spend the equivalent of 5-6% of GDP on infrastructure annually.

Most multilateral institutions’ growth forecasts for the Philippines for 2024 would miss the government’s target. The World Bank expects GDP to grow by 5.8% while the Asian Development Bank sees growth expanding 6.2% this year.

Ms. Edillon also noted the potential of the blue economy. “It’s untapped. It consists of so many economic activities that can be done along the shore, the coast, and the waters themselves.”

Last month, the House of Representatives approved on second reading a bill that seeks to establish a framework for a blue economy that would sustain marine ecosystems and resources.

Ms. Edillon said that the blue economy could be worth more than a trillion pesos.

“We first need to have that framework to develop the blue economy. So that will include the resorts that will include the diving spots; the maritime sector, which will include ocean energy. We want to make sure that first of all, it’s guided by the framework,” Ms. Edillon said.

“And of course, it should support sustainable development, because we want the next generation to still have this resource,” she added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson