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New survey planned for tourism stats

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – The Ministry of Tourism has announced plans to conduct a comprehensive tourism survey in the country that will come up with credible tourism statistics.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the survey is set to begin in mid-February 2009, and will be carried out in conjunction with the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Data collected will be used by the Ministry to establish a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).

“The TSA will serve as the resource centre for credible statistical information, for policy formulation and planning in the sector,” the statement read in part.

The TSA is a United Nations recommended framework for organising statistical data on tourism. It measures the contribution of tourism to the national economy and is instrumental in designing policies and development plans related to the sector.

At present, the tourism industry has been relying on estimates mainly gathered from airports, hotels and restaurants, as well as tour and travel agencies; by the Kenya Tourism Board.

These statistics, the statement says, may not be adequately representative of tourist statistics, since certain areas covered by ‘smaller’ players in the industry are not documented.

These include the railways, road and water passenger transport, the cultural centres such as museums and sports and recreational services among others, all of which benefit from international and domestic tourism.

“The survey will be done in two phases with the immediate one focusing on the big players; the accommodation service sector, food and beverage, and the tours and travel,” the statement from the ministry indicated.

Tourism Ministry Public Relations Officer Mwangi Gakunga said: “It is expected that this new system of recording tourism statistics will provide credible tourism information to measure both the demand and supply side of the tourism sector.”

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He added that the system would allow the Government to credibly estimate among other things, inbound tourism, outbound tourism, domestic tourism expenditure, production by the tourism industries, employment in the tourism industries and tourism gross fixed capital formation.

The survey would also be conducted in all airports and border-entry points in Kenya.

Mr Gakunga reiterated that once it is complete, the TSA will create a single set of tourism statistics that is agreeable to all stakeholders and would be available to be used to make informed policy formulation, plus tactical and strategic planning by tourism sector stakeholders.

“Once it is operational, it will provide the true size and value of the tourism sector in the country and also help in comparing Kenya’s tourism performance with that of other countries,” the PR officer noted.

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