Our latest country spotlight takes us to the Philippines, a country with one of the largest populations in Southeast Asia. The economy is flourishing, due in part to the travel industry and gig economy. For freelancers, travel agents, or Airbnb owners, there are plentiful opportunities that reside in the Philippines.
The Travel Sector
In 2017, the travel sector contributed a total of 63.5 billion USD to the Philippine economy, accounting for about 21 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In fact, the travel sector accounts for 2.3 million jobs, including travel agents, airline and hotel employees and employees of other transportation services. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel industry is expected to grow to support over 380 million jobs by 2027, an important force that contributes to the growth of the economy.
The Gig Economy
According to a study done by Upwork that looked at the first nine months of the years 2017 and 2018, the Philippines was the third largest revenue-generating country in terms of freelancers. The Philippines generated a whopping 10.84 billion USD in freelance revenue, right behind India and the United States, at 16.18 and 19.18 billion USD respectively. Considering that the Philippines has a population of about 105 million compared with the much larger populations of India and the United States (populations that number 1.3+ billion and 325+ million, respectively), it's clear that the Philippines enjoys a very healthy freelance economy.
The gig economy in the Philippines has grown steadily in recent years. Ryan Johnson, Categories Director of Upwork, said there is no “average” Filipino freelancer on the platform. Some freelancers might be looking to have a better work-life balance and others might be trying the freelance lifestyle in order in an effort to decrease their hours spent commuting to an office job. Whatever their motivation, freelancers enjoy the opportunities of earning incomes in foreign currencies, such as the U.S. dollar. For example, around 52 Philippine pesos equals 1 U.S. dollar. The opportunities are endless with that kind of conversion!
Overall GDP Growth
Currently, the Philippines is ranked #38 in the world in GDP, with a GDP of 330 billion USD. GDP is expected to grow to 464 billion USD by 2022. This is an expected 40%+ growth within the next four years. If this projected growth does come to pass, the Philippines’ economic star will continue to rise.
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