Role of Tourism Statistics in Economic Development Tackled at WTO Meet

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Byline: RACHEL CASTRO-BARAWID

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) yesterday underscored the need for a country to come up with an effective tool to measure the economic impacts of tourism during the second day of a technical workshop participated in by over 25 nations at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

The timely proposal of WTO, the Madrid-based leading international organization in travel and tourism, was made during the Tourism Satellite Account Workshop (June 16-17) that kicked off the five-day series of events in Manila organized by the WTO and the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Antonio Massieu, WTO chief for Statistics and Economic Measurement of Tourism urged tourism ministers, industry leaders and practitioners of countries in the Asian Region, including the Philippines to develop a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) that will help determine the importance and benefits of tourism to the economy; and ultimately help achieve international comparability and credibility.

Massieu pointed out that nations must recognize the valuable contributions of tourism in the generation of GDP (primary income of a country); net foreign earnings; of tax earnings; of employment; of output and demand in a variety of activities and products; in maintaining a balance between regions and stopping the migration of population to major cities; and in its participation in the preservation and enhancement of natural resources and historical heritage.

The TSA is not a bible, it is just to be taken as guidelines that will serve as a useful instrument in measuring tourism statistics, he clarified.

According to him, the TSA is a macroeconomic framework that has a philosophical approach, theoretical context and empirical instruments to measure and verify main trends of an activity. It provides a complex statistical instrument indispensable to measure the economic impact of tourism. The system also includes a set of tools to make a proper description and analysis of tourism.

In the development of the TSA, Massieu said it is important to involve national statistics offices, the unit involved in compiling national accounts. …