Launch of Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) |13 September 2022
Another milestone for Seychelles tourism
By Vidya Gappy
Seychelles has launched its Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), becoming the first country on the African continent to do so.
Launching the TSA yesterday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, described it as a “most needed and important milestone for the tourism sector”.
“What cannot be measured, cannot be managed. Therefore it is imperative to strike an equitable balance between progress and sustainability particularly for Seychelles which is a small island developing state. In order to make informed decision on future tourism development, there is a need for a thorough understanding of the tourism sector and its role in the economy. This can only be achieved through reliable and accurate system of tourism statistics,” stated Minister Radegonde.
During the launch yesterday, it was revealed that Tourism contributes 16.5% directly to the country’s GDP.
According to the figures shared by Kevin Millington from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the contribution towards GDP for the following countries are: Bahamas – 21%, Aruba – 20.1%, Seychelles – 16.5%, Fiji – 11.5%, Mauritius – 9.1%, Spain – 7%, Costa Rica – 6.3%, Malaysia – 5.4%, United Kingdom – 3.8 %, Australia – 3.1%, South Africa – 3%, USA – 2.7% and Israel – 2.1%
Some of the key TSA indicators are tourism contribution to GDP, Tourism Direct Gross Value Added and tourism consumption by inbound, domestic and outbound visitors.
The tourism characteristic products are accommodation, food and beverages, passenger transport, transport equipment rental, travel agents, tours and guides, entertainment and recreation.
Initiated in 2019 with the Government of Seychelles and UNTWO, The TSA’s main objective was to focus on strengthening statistics systems and developing a TSA which will allow for a better understanding of the economic contribution of tourism and to track its performance and how it compares to other industries.
TSA also provides the metrics and areas that need to be improved to guide the sector and to facilitate more effective monitoring.
Elsia Grandcourt, the regional director for Africa, UNWTO, explained that strengthening of tourism statistics system is anchored as a core priority in the UNWTO Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth.
“In order to be able to measure the economic impact of tourism and to use robust and accurate data to manage the tourism recovery process, the TSA for Seychelles is launched at a really critical moment. For small island developing states such as Seychelles, the adoption of sustainable tourism practices must fully consider the economic, social and environmental impacts for the destination to thrive while addressing the needs of visitors and the industry,” Ms Grandcourt said.
She also talked about the treasure trove of tourism assets of Seychelles which comprises some of the rarest species of flora and fauna and how it is important for Seychelles to be promoted as one of the eco-friendly tourist destinations and with the achievement contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The regional director for Africa also shared that sustainability has been one of the major priorities of UNWTO in the area of statistics and they are also working on the development of a statistical framework for measuring the sustainability of tourism in all dimensions: economic, social and environmental. UNWTO is closely working with 13 countries on its development and implementation.
Mr Millington also explained that the TSA does not include the indirect contribution such as laundry etc and if we include indirect contributions, it will be double counted.
“16.5% is the highest among the small states and it is a significant amount for the country. These statistics are gathered by surveys and also using Travizory.”
Principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, added that these three years were a preparation to gather information so that we get the correct statistics.
“Now we have reached the point where we officially hand over the project to the National Bureau of Statistics for the implementation phase. The 16.5% reflects 2019 figures and we are going back to these figures again. We have worked with different partners and stakeholders to get the results and we also used opinion surveys.
Laura Ah Time, chief executive of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), explained that the TSA is like an extension on the National Account. “Every year NBS publishes a report and now TSA will be an additional publication which will focus on the tourism sector primarily. NBS will be in charge of the TSA and the Tourism department will be the support. Throughout the process the two consultants spent most of their time at the NBS.”
Ms Ah Time also noted that there are talks to have more such accounts such as Fisheries SA and work has already started. Environment SA is also another one. The United Nations encouraged the countries to start compiling data to know exactly what they contribute to the economy.
Ms Grandcourt encouraged all relevant parties and stakeholders of the public and private sectors to continue working in close collaboration to fully harness the benefits of a TSA and exclaimed that UNWTO remains committed to working with Seychelles and to keep on supporting the pioneering vision of tourism in Seychelles and make the destination a global reference for sustainable tourism.
PS Francis also handed over a token to Mrs Grandcourt.
The event was attended by the Minister for Tourism and Cultural Affairs of Sierra Leone, Dr Memunatu Pratt, who is in the country for an official working visit to study our best practices in tourism destination management, development and marketing.
Photos by Vidya Gappy