Setting out to strengthen its tourism data system, Seychelles on Monday became the first African country to fully launch its Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).
Tourism satellite accounts are the definitive way to measure the economic impact of tourism in a destination. Over the last 20 years, they have been implemented in many destinations around the world to find out exactly what tourism contributes to the gross domestic product (GDP).
During his presentation at the launching ceremony, a tourism statistics expert from UNWTO, Kevin Willington, outlined that Seychelles’ TSA shows that tourism directly contributes 16.5 percent to its GDP.
“The 16.5 percent contribution to GDP is a very significant amount and it is very important for Seychelles. In most countries, this figure is considerably lower than 16.5 percent. For example, in the UK where tourism is important, it contributes only 3.8 percent. We have to remember that the economy is very large and there are a lot of other things going on,” said Willington.
He explained that the TSA measures direct contribution, which is what tourists spend directly with businesses in Seychelles. Indirect contributions are not taken into account.
The main concept behind the TSA is to reconcile tourism demand with supply.
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) project for Seychelles started in 2019 and is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
UNWTO Director at the Regional Department for Africa, Elcia Grandcourt, said the tourism statistics system is anchored as a core priority in the ‘UNWTO Agenda for Africa. (Vanessa Lucas, Tourism Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY
An extension of the national accounts, the Tourism Satellite Account is compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
“At NBS we have an array of publications that we compile and publish each year, and the Tourism Satellite Accounts will become an additional publication that focuses directly on tourism. It will really target this sector and stakeholders in the sector who require more precise information to make a decision,” said NBS’ CEO, Laura Ahtime.
She said there are talks about a Fisheries Satellite Account and it is something that is becoming quite popular.
“All satellite accounts are specialised areas where you need really good data, and we have to establish these contacts. The Fisheries Satellite Account is one, there is also the Environment Satellite Account and they are all accounts that the United Nations are encouraging countries to compile and they develop the methodologies and classification and how to carry it out,” shared Ahtime.
The UNWTO Director at the Regional Department for Africa, Elcia Grandcourt, who is from Seychelles, said that strengthening the tourism statistics system is anchored as a core priority in the ‘UNWTO Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth.’
“Today a Tourism Satellite Account remains one of the top priority requests we receive from member states across Africa. We are pleased for the milestone achieved by Seychelles with the launch of its TSA, which will serve as an example for other members in the region,” she added.
Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, followed by fisheries.