Untangling tourism data mess to cost govt P6.8m

The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism will spend approximately P6.8 million in designing a tourism statistical plan meant to unravel the statistics nightmare prevailing in the sector.

At present, policymakers and investors in tourism rely mostly on external sources of data for the domestic tourism sector, due to the complex statistical challenge the industry has historically faced.

As a consequence, it is presently unclear how much the sector contributes to the economy, with estimates ranging from 3.7 percent in the 2009 Tourism Satellite Account report and eight percent in the last World Travel and Tourism Council calculation.

A draft of the tourism sector statistics plan estimates that in addition to accounting for 3.7 percent of the GDP, the sector employs up to 23,000 people.

According to officials, the plan discussed in a workshop yesterday, is intended to augment the relevance and reliability of home-brewed tourism data through the improvement of data management across the value chain.

Currently, the sector is marred by inconsistencies as well as irrelevant and statistical backlogs.

The ministry’s coordinator of research and development, Gaoakanye Tapeng said lack of coordination, outdated data and lack of automation of statistics were some of the problematic areas.

“The plan aspires to provide reliable and quality statistics with the objective of attaining a well-coordinated sector statistical system,” he said.

“As it is, the data jumble makes it impossible for stakeholders to find utility and make informed decisions on the tourism sector.

“At the moment the sector is heavily paper-based which makes coordination very difficult.”

The five-year plan also intends to tighten the sectors’ statistical dissemination channels because at present, critical stakeholders do not receive valuable data. In the meantime, Tourism Sector Statistics Committee member, Temalo Lesetlhe advised stakeholders to use the Tourism Satellite Account data produced by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

She said Botswana was not privy to what determinations the WTTC researchers employed in the production of their estimates. “The UNWTO methodology estimates are derived based on our statistics. The other good thing about them, is that they are comparable to other countries as well, hence our stance to go by their statistics,” Lesetlhe said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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