Tourism developed rapidly in the 1970s, with visitors numbering 1 million in 1980. Thereafter, the industry went into a slump, reaching the 1 million visitor mark again only in 1988. In that year, the average length of stay was 12.6 days, up from 8.9 days in 1987. Many of the visitors, however, were emigrant Filipinos returning for periodic visits with families and friends. In 1988 an average of 73 percent of Manila's 8,500 hotel rooms were occupied.
Estimates of tourist revenue varied considerably. In 1988 the Central Bank estimated it at US$405 million, 11 percent of the country's nonmerchandise exports. Using a different formula, the Department of Tourism estimated tourism earnings at US$1.45 billion. Most tourists entered the country through Manila, but the city had relatively few amenities and suffered from congestion, pollution, and crime. Intramuros, the colonial Spanish walled city, had not been fully restored since its destruction at the end of World War II. Political instability in the country during the 1980s also was a deterrent to tourism. The Medium-Term Development Plan called for promotion of both domestic and international tourism.
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