MUTARE, April 13 (The Source) – Zimbabwe is part of a group Southern African countries that are establishing the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), a system that will more accurately measure tourism’s contribution to their economies.
Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) acting executive director SimbaMandinyenya said it was currently difficult to accurately measure tourism’s contribution to Gross Domestic Principle (GDP). The TSA system would improve government’s measurement of tourism’s contribution and help develop more strategic management of the sector.
RETOSA is a grouping of SADC member states.
“The issue is that tourism is a strategic sector, a very important sector, but when you go to the national account, it is not there. It’s a challenge. It is difficult for the Ministry (of Tourism and Hospitality) when it isseeking a higher budget and cannot show factual figures to support a budget allocation increase.
“So the satellite account will give you the factual statistical figures, which can be used in planning and to interrogate how the sector has been operating, and areas that can be improved to boost its contributions towards GDP,” said Mandinyenya.
According to statistics from the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), tourism currently contributes 11 percent to Zimbabwe’s GDP.
Mandinyenya said TSA allows government to synchronise statistics from all state departments that collect tourism data.
The system will benefit state bodies that collect statistics relevant to tourism, among them the immigration department, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife, Zimbabwe Statistics Office, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and Ministry of Tourism.
RETOSA is the pioneer programme to house several member states under one roof to establish TSAs.
There are however regional groups such as the East African Community Tourism Unit and Caribbean Tourism Organisation. West Africa is moving to establish a similar regional block similar to RETOSA.