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National Tourism Satellite Account launched

National Tourism Satellite Account launched

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which provides a basis for the country to move further towards resilience and economic diversification was recently launched on 19 May in Windhoek, according to a recently released UN Namibia publication.

The development of this TSA is anchored under Strategic Objective Number two (2) of the National Strategy on Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development and Employment Creation Opportunities at the Community Level (202-2030), under the activity “Revise and Strengthen Data and Tourism statistics.”

The project was spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Namibia.

According to the publication, in her opening remarks, Heather Sibungo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) said that the TSA aims to compile and present information about the participation of the tourism sector in the national economy.

She noted that tourism, by contributing directly or indirectly a substantial share to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and being one of the largest sources of foreign exchange, plays a major role in the economy.

Sibungo lauded the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for responding positively to Namibia’s request and by availing financial resources and contracting technical expertise to carry out this important national programme.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) to Namibia, Sen Pang, in his remarks said that the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic revealed the importance of various sectors to maintain statistics to develop an effective recovery plan and administrate economic stimulus packages.

He noted, “It is undisputed that the economic fallout from closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected the tourism sector; the industry lost approximately 3.2 billion Namibian dollars or USD 220 million due to the severe disruptions.”

Pang was particularly encouraged to note that after the successful partnership with UNESCO and UNDP, the Government of Namibia has taken the step further to partner with UNECA for the strengthening of tourism data collection and reporting systems.

Pang observed that the TSA is relevant to Namibia’s tourism sector as it works towards sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but also to other economic sectors through the ripple effects generated.

Alex Shimuafeni, Statistician-General and CEO of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) said that tourism statistics are necessary for designing marketing strategies, strengthening inter-institutional relations, and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of management decisions and measuring tourism throughout the national economy.

“It is crucial for Namibia to develop a TSA that will provide us with the answer on the contribution of tourism to the economy, and I am happy that the NSA and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism are working toward realizing this milestone,” Shimuafeni emphasised.

Speaking at the same event, Namibia Tourism Board CEO, Digu Naobeb noted that the TSA is complex in its structure and dimensions; thus, it requires multiple stakeholders’ input and involvement.

“This approach had worked and delivered fruits. We hope we shall continue involving a multidisciplinary approach,” he added.

Chief of Inclusive Industrialization in UNECA Sub-Regional Office Southern Africa, Olayinka Bandele expressed her delight at UNECA joining as a partner to support the MEFT to deliver the TSA. Noting the wealth of experience from UNECA supporting similar TSA capacity building projects in East Africa she highlighted that the Namibia participants can now learn best practices, as well as advise challenges that have arisen in the other countries, as specialists from Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda are joining the capacity building workshop taking place next week.

Meanwhile, UNECA Tourism Consultant, Prof. Pius O. Odunga in his presentation said TSA would increase and improve knowledge of tourism’s importance concerning overall economic activity in a given country; develop quantitative estimates of tourism value-added and, thus, analyze the importance of tourism to an economy among others.

“Overall, TSA provides the basis for applying tourism multipliers and other models to measure the secondary and tertiary impacts of tourism expenditure across the whole economy”, he added.

In her closing remarks and vote of thanks, MEFT’s Deputy Executive, Ms Seimy Shidute, implored all tourism stakeholders, especially the private sector, to fully avail the required data for the development of the TSA to the National TSA Committee.


The official launch of the Namibia Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) project took place in Windhoek. Photo: © UNECA


 

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