The United States ambassador to the Philippines, Harry Thomas, has apologised for saying 40% of male tourists there come for sex.
His remark during a conference last month has provoked an angry response from Philippine politicians.
The BBC reports that in a text message to a Philippine minister Mr Thomas said he should not have used the statistic without proof.
Washington has been asking Manila to do more to prosecute foreigners - including Americans - accused of involvement in child prostitution and human trafficking.
The Philippine government has been trying to revitalise the country's tourism industry, which for years has lagged behind those of other Asian countries.