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New tool to audit economic role of tourism

Tuesday August 13 2019

Tourists in Mombasa

Tourists in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

PATRICK ALUSHULA
By PATRICK ALUSHULA
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Kenyans will soon know the contribution of tourism to the country’s wealth through a new tool that will measure the value tourists add to related sectors, their spending patterns and jobs that followed the expenditure.

Government is creating the special tool, known as the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), to estimate demand and supply of tourism for market intelligence and publicity.

The tool will also be used to establish direct job opportunities in hotels and auxiliary sectors like handicraft, taxi business, fishing and farming.

“Since the accounts distinguish the numbers and expenditure of different tourist markets by origin, the yield contribution measures can be developed per tourist and by source market,” said Tourism Research Institute (TRI), the agency developing the tool.

The State will be able to measure the multiplier effect of tourism expenditure on the whole economy by providing information on who is supplying these goods and how the demand is being met.

“It is possible to establish the economic importance of tourism for each category of products that are consumed and also for each activity that results in the production of goods and services for the visitors,” TRI said.

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Currently, official data only gives figures on activities such as visitor arrivals, hotel bookings and bed occupancy but not an aggregate contribution of tourism to the economy.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows the number of international visitor arrivals increased by 14 per cent from 1.77 million in 2017 to 2.03 million last year.

This pushed up the sector’s earnings by 31.2 per cent to Sh157.4 billion in 2018.