How duty-free shopping can contribute more to the tourism industry

For many Filipinos who just came home from an international trip, especially the balikbayans and overseas workers, going to a duty-free shop, usually with relatives in tow, has become a common practice. This gives them the opportunity to buy, on the spot, what their loved ones want for pasalubong (gift from a trip) without having to pay taxes and duties. Hence, they get to save some money and, at the same time, contribute more to the tourism industry.

PASALUBONG gifts from Duty Free.


Well, the country’s sole operator of duty-and-tax-free merchandising system, Duty Free Philippines Corporation, is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism that allots its earnings to the development of national and local tourism programs and projects. So, whatever it earns from each shopper’s purchases goes to the funds. 

In 2019 alone, DFPC posted a sales remittance of P243 million to DoT. Alas, the Covid-19 happened in 2020, causing a slump notably in international travel that only recently started recovering. By the end of 2023, DFPC achieved an impressive 53-percent increase in sales compared to the prior year. Meaning, the agency is on its way to reaching its pre-pandemic numbers.

Duty Free Philippines Corporation’s chief operating officer Vicente Pelagio A. Angala.

“We struggled to rise to the occasion, but demonstrated our strength and resilience as an organization that can adapt and improve,” DFPC’s chief operating officer Vicente Pelagio A. Angala told media representatives in an appreciation dinner held on 23 January at one of the agency’s biggest outlets, Luxe Duty Free Manila, located within the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City.

As Angala expressed his gratitude for the support of DoT Secretary Cristina Garcia Frasco, DFPC’s top executive shared with the guests his optimism to continuously increase sales and income. The goal for 2024 is an increase of 64 percent, so the agency needs to earn US$167 million.

To achieve its goal, DFPC continues to promote its best-selling product categories, such as chocolates and confectionery, liquors and wines, and perfumes and cosmetics, while pushing all the other items in its inventory. These include locally made products that international tourists in particular appreciate for representing Philippine culture and craftsmanship.

The agency also takes inspiration from the successful resumption of its operations in Bacolod, Kalibo and Iloilo internationals. That’s why it’s opening soon additional stores at Clark Terminal 2, while embarking on e-business with the introduction of an online shopping platform.

Visit Duty Free Philippines online shop at