Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) — The Philippines is among countries whose tourism industry is facing challenges in recovering from the COVID-19 health crisis, according to research from a UK-based price comparison website.

The country ranked seventh lowest out of 72 nations listed by money.co.uk in its research”Resumption of tourism in the world.”

According to research by the UK website, the Philippines had around 200,000 tourists in 2021, just 2.4% of the estimated 8.3 million in 2019.

Of the bottom ten destinations, money.co.uk said Hong Kong was struggling the most, with its tourist numbers last year just 0.4% of its pre-COVID figures – or 23.8 million in 2019 against 100,000 in 2021.

Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam completed the first half.

Meanwhile, Singapore, Cambodia, Argentina and Chile joined the Philippines in the bottom half.

Bahrain leads the study with a percentage of 94.7% – from 3.8 million in 2019, its number of tourists was pegged at 3.6 million last year.

Other countries that formed the top 15 in research were Albania, Dominican Republic, Maldives, Aruba, Mexico, Luxembourg, El Salvador, Iceland, Montenegro, Andorra, Croatia, Tanzania, Turkey and Bulgaria.

The study involved identifying countries with more than one million tourists in 2019 and then calculating the drop in tourism during their closures.

“To do this, money.co.uk compared tourist and revenue figures from 2019 to 2021 from a number of popular tourist sources,” he said.

The 2021 figure was then split with the 2019 figure to determine how close tourism is to each country’s pre-pandemic levels, and then these percentages were ranked.

The Philippines only reopened its borders to leisure and business travel in February after nearly two years of closure in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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The tourism industry and its related businesses were forced to founder at the start of the pandemic amid border closures and strict quarantine restrictions.

The Ministry of Tourism has frequently pointed out that the country has taken advantage of this period to prepare for its reopening to the world.

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