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Importance of Tourism Satellite Account for Ghana’s Tourism Development

GAs an accurate and unique tool available for policymakers, directing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment, Tourism Satellite Account acknowledges tourism’s significance among all other economic agents ina national development framework.

TSA is an instrument or a tool to measure the performance and contribution of tourism to support many and varied decisions of stakeholder constituencies. Thus, associating consumers and visitors’ purchases to the overalltourism goods and services supply chainwithin a country is important and it is that which Tourism Satellite Accounting development entails and seeks to highlight.

It is a novel statistical instrument to measure the commodities that consumers and visitors buy based on internationally established standards, concepts, categorisations, and definitions while allowing for effective and logical contrasts with other sectors in different countries and between/among different groups as well.

The difficulty of measuring and accounting for contributions bysectors unrecognised in national accounting systems has occasioned a Satellite Accountdevelopment (United Nation, 2000). Meanwhile, the Satellite Account seeks to measure the size of economic sectors that are not defined as industries in national accounts (United Nation, 2000). 

The primary objective of the TSA is to provide detailed and analytical information on all aspects of tourism, including its direct economic impact on an economy. While having a high volume of data which demands an extraction and dissemination in a convenient, simple, and quick way to allow for various information combinations, TSA brings tourism closer to the hearts of governments and policymakers as an important economic sector generating domestic and foreign exchange earnings for national growth and development.

The sector includestransportation, lodging, foods and beverages,and recreational activities. It is a unique economic agent becauseits definition and determination pivot around the consumer or the visitor. This distinction lends its weight to tourism’s multi-dimensional and multi-faceted characteristics while exhibiting wide-range market audience diversity – tourism and non-tourism commodities’ participants.

The Tourism Satellite Account seeks data credibilityon the impact of tourism and its associated employment creation, ensures standardisation of framework for organising statistical data on tourism, confirms certification from the UN Statistical Commission as a new and powerful international standard instrument for designing economic policies related to tourism development, offers data on tourism’s impact on a nation’s balance of payments and delivers information on tourism human resource characteristics.

Globally, tourism information in our national economyis less documented and/or reported and also unsupported by national accounts systems, making it difficultto account for increasing role of tourism contributions to the national development agenda. There is, therefore, a need for Ghana to have relevant and reliable tourism data to account for relative tourism importancein national development as do other sectors with an established accounting system.

With Tourism Satellite Account for Ghana’s tourism, actors such as governments, local authorities and entrepreneurs are better positioned to design policies and sound business strategies for tourism, leading to effective and efficient management of tourism proceeds, while creating the opportunity for rigorousmonitoring and evaluation.

Ghana’s TSA will provide reliable and credible datafor effective and efficient public policy decisions, business operations and strategies and destination-area-regional decision-making, including research and innovation plus improved methodological approaches toward tourism development and promotion.It will also bring recognition to and confidence in tourism statistics while providing theTourism industry’svision.

As an instrument that recognisestourism cross-connect with many products and productive activities, Ghana’s Tourism Satellite Account will facilitate deepertourism linkages understanding for harmonisation and extends tourism’sroles in all industries involved in producing goods and services demanded by visitors.

It is critically significant that Ghana develops the TSA to allow for increasing and improving knowledge of tourism relative importance in our country, designing more efficient policies relating to tourism and its employment agenda, creating awareness among various players, directly and indirectly, involved in generating tourism wealth; hence its relevance tonational economic prospects, and showcasing tourism’s diversity in wealthcreation for the national budget through its web of complex interactions within other economic sectors.

By ALPHONSE KUMAZA

The writer is a Senior Tourism Officer

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture

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