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Seychelles benefits from UNWTO expertise as work progresses to develop and implement Tourism Satellite Account

Seychelles benefits from UNWTO expertise as work progresses to develop and implement Tourism Satellite Account

The Tourism Department is pushing ahead with its objective to have tangible measurement of the economic impact of tourism that has long been the mainstay of the Seychelles economy.

With work already started to develop a Tourism Satellite Account for Seychelles, stakeholders in the industry have been provided with a better understanding of the statistical framework, the importance of such a tool, as well as the need for relevant and consistent statistics to be made available.

A two-day workshop was held on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th July at the AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa.

The Statistics and Tourism Satellite Workshop saw the participation of statisticians and representatives from the Tourism Department, the Seychelles Tourism Board, National Bureau of Statistics, Immigration, Finance Ministry, Seychelles Ports Authority, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, The Central Bank of Seychelles and the Seychelles Licensing Authority.

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a standard statistical framework developed the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the main tool for the economic measurement of tourism.

The need to develop such a tool for Seychelles, to determine the economic contribution of tourism, which interacts with a great variety of other economic activities, was first highlighted in 2008 but has since recorded slow progress.

In her opening remarks, the Principal Secretary welcomed all stakeholders back on the Tourism Satellite Account wagon.

“Being in the inception phase we are calling on all partners to be fully engaged in the process…As a ministry we are aware of the resource constraints faced by many stakeholders and we are prepared to work towards a method that is less tedious and overbearing on your organizations,” said Mrs. Lafortune.

The sessions were led by UNWTO attaché & tourism statistician, Mr. David McEwen. The Tourism Ministry has sought technical expertise from the World Tourism body to identify the current gaps and propose a way forward in the development and implementation of a Tourism Satellite Account in Seychelles.

Mr. McEwen said: “We do have gaps and issues in the tourism statistic and I’m hoping that we put forward suggestions on how to deal with these issues realistically during the workshop.”

Seychelles welcomes thousands of tourists from across the globe each year. At the recent mid-year tourism marketing meeting, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Mrs. Sherin Francis said Seychelles looks set to welcome between 350 to 360 thousand visitors in 2017 if the current rate of 18 to 20 percent growth in visitor arrivals is maintained, adding that the country could thus easily reach the 500 thousand visitor mark over the next two years if the trend continues.

While the arrival figures are important, the collection of statistics on other aspects of tourism related activities are equally vital to help the country to develop the right policies.

Mrs. Lafortune said: “We need to understand the supply and demand, how much money is coming into the country from tourists, and how much it is costing us. This will allow us to better acquire the added value hence the amount of profit the economy is making.”

For her part, the Chief Executive of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Mrs. Laura Ah-time highlighted the need for the private sector businesses including hotels to also come onboard and be committed to the process to ensure the availability and reliability of data, which is a key component of the Tourism Satellite Account.

The NBS is the government agency responsible for collecting, compiling, analyzing and publishing statistical information.

Mrs. Ah-time said: “Currently our organization is producing statistics from different demand and supply routes, but with the elaboration of the Tourism Satellite Account there will be an exponential demand for desegregated statistics, and the commitment from other stakeholders, particularly from the private sector which better allow the bureau to expand and elaborate on the gaps.”

The Tourism Department is hoping the Tourism Satellite Account will be ready by next year provided all necessary tools are developed on time.