The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is not only about statistics, it is much more, providing concrete proof that tourism is one of the most important economic sectors and, thus, indispensable in today’s world. To obtain wider recognition of this issue, the World Tourism Organization is preparing a new World Conference in 2005 to explain the usefulness of the TSA.
During its fifth session, mid-March, the Committee on Statistics and Macroeconomic Analysis elected Canada as president for the period 2004 – 2007. Canada is represented by Scott Meis, executive director of research at the Canadian Tourism Commission. Spain (Instituto de Estudios Turisticos) and France (Direction Generale du Tourisme) will serve as vice-chairmen.
The committee discussed several issues related to the TSA, including its methodological framework and the organization of the World Conference on TSA, scheduled for 2005, which will serve as an instrument for understanding tourism and designing new strategies. “The recent transformation of our Organization into a specialized agency of the United Nations also sent a clear message: to reaffirm our leading role in the development and promotion of the TSA,” stressed the Secretary-General Mr. Francesco Frangialli. According to United Nations, WTO is “the appropriate organization to collect, to analyse, to publish, to standardize and to improve the tourism statistics and to promote the integration of these statistics within the sphere of the United Nations system.”
The WTO and the community of tourism statisticians have made tremendous progress in the past fifteen years in, first, developing a foundation of common concepts to measure, monitor and describe the phenomenon of tourism, and second, in developing the tools – the Tourism Satellite Account and its associated extensions and applications-to measure and describe the size, structure and dynamics of tourism in the national economy, said Mr. Meis, the committee’s new president.