Shopping is indeed more fun in the Philippines, both for tourists who go on buying sprees during trips and locals who make a living as merchants.
Shopping was the top earner among tourism industries which contributed a total of P571.3 billion or 5.9 percent of the Philippine economy in 2011, official government data show.
"Among the tourism-characteristic industries, shopping had the biggest share to TDGVA (total direct gross value added) at 22.9 percent..." the National Statistical Coordination Board said in its website.
Value generated from shopping grew by 16.8 percent to a total of P130.5 billion last year.
In terms of percentage share to the total tourism value, shopping was followed by accommodation at 11.2 percent (P63.9 billion), and entertainment and recreation at 6.8 percent (55.2 billion).
Other contributors to income from tourism include travel agencies and reservation services (P34.4 billion), food and beverage (P29.3 billion), transport (P18.4 billion) and miscellaneous services (P5 billion).
Value bulked into "other products" was also reported at P234.5 billion.
Tourism spending has also increased last year both for inbound visitors and domestic tourists.
Inbound tourism expenditure, which to spending by foreign visitors and Philippine passport holders permanently residing abroad rose by 13.9 percent to P124.5 billion in 2011.
Spending by domestic tourists, which includes expenditure within the country either as as domestic trip or part of an international trip, grew by 27.1 percent to P 995.7 billion last year.
The tourism industry employed 3.8 million Filipinos in 2011, up 3.5 percent from 3.7 million the year previous, data showed.
Its share in the country's total employment grew to 10.3 percent last year from 10.2 percent in 2010.