The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has intensified its efforts to establish a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).

The key objectives of a TSA are to measure: the proportion of tourism to a country’s GDP, the size of the tourism industry relative to other sectors of a country’s economy, the number of jobs generated by tourism activity, the value of public and private investment in tourism, the effect of international tourism on a country’s balance of payments, and the value of government income generated by the tourism industry.

These indicators will help Zimbabwe to measure its efforts to establish a US$5bn (€4.3bn) tourism economy and protect against unwanted events, such as terrorism.

ZTA chief operational officer, Givemore Chidzidzi, told Business Chronicle that in Zimbabwe there is an urgent need to complete outstanding surveys and data protocols in order to establish an experimental TSA.

“While tourism has tremendous benefits to the economy of any country, the full contribution of the tourism sector to the Zimbabwean economy remains understated as a result of the lack of a proper accounting system.”

Chidzidzi added that Zimbabwe is lagging behind the rest of Southern Africa with regards to producing real-time tourism statistics. He suggested that the country could make better use of modern technologies, such as the Advanced Passenger Processing System, in order to improve the compilation and dissemination of tourist arrival statistics. “(These technologies) produce accurate, real-time statistics which are critical for the TSA, destination marketing and planning purposes.”

The TSA model was developed by the UNWTO after it recognised that certain economies were failing to accurately measure tourism’s economic impact. In Southern Africa; Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa are the only countries to have successfully established experimental TSAs.