UNWTO and RETOSA hold Third Workshop in Zimbabwe on Tourism Statistics and TSA

UNWTO and RETOSA hold Third Workshop in Zimbabwe on Tourism Statistics and TSA

Over 60 public officials from 12 Southern African countries gathered in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, for the third joint UNWTO/RETOSA workshop on Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which was held on 2-4 May 2012. The 3 day workshop was hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe and was organised in the framework of the UNWTO’s joint National Statistical Capacity Building Programme (NSCBP). The workshop aimed to assist Southern African Member States in making further advances in their tourism statistics development by identifying their respective data and capacity requirements and provide countries with exposure to both conceptual and practical elements relating to the development of tourism statistics and the TSA.

The workshop brought together economists, statisticians, researchers and tourism specialists from national tourism administrations, central banks, central statistics offices and finance ministries to discuss the statistical requirements and strategies for developing TSAs. While countries have made notable progress in developing their Systems of Tourism Statistics, it was recognised that each country is at a different stage in its statistical development. In recognition of this and building on the outcomes of previous two workshops, a key feature of the event was to assist countries in preparing draft TSA tables with real country data in order to give delegates experience in the processes required and challenges that can be encountered in certain scenarios.  Over the course of the three days, the workshop focused on supporting country focus groups for their respective TSAs; discussing the constraints and issues that can arise; and presenting country findings. The event was designed to maximise the sharing of information and diverse country experiences among delegates, as well as pooling knowledge from a range of disciplines.  Simba Mandinyenya, RETOSA’s Planning and Development Director, said “in Southern Africa we are all happy here with the progress we are making as a region. Looking back, when I said let's not just demystify the TSA, but more importantly let's have the majority of our member states running an experimental TSA by 2015, many felt we were now biting more than we could chew. However, after our last workshop in Zimbabwe, we all know working as a block, sharing information, experiences and technical skills, 2015 might be the year when all member states will have the TSA up and running”.

The country presentations demonstrated that delegates had made important progress in understanding the processes necessary for developing a TSA and served to highlight the required inputs and priorities for respective administrations in relation to developing their data and statistics capacities.

UNWTO’s Director of Technical Cooperation and Services, Dr Harsh Varma, said: “This joint programme is a manifestation of strong ties between RETOSA and UNWTO in the field of tourism statistics and Tourism Satellite Account. While the first two workshops dealt with the fundamentals, this workshop focused on the practical aspects such as putting together TSA tables through country groups. We are glad that the participants made good use of the opportunity presented by the workshop, and during the course of their group assignment, worked together on the formulation of different TSA tables as well the challenges they pose”. 

*The participating countries at the workshop were Botswana, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe