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International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism

Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth

This highly accessible and comprehensive Handbook presents a cutting edge discussion of the state of tourism economics and its likely directions in future research. Leading researchers in the field explore a wide range of topics including: demand and forecasting, supply, transport, taxation and infrastructure, evaluation and application for policy-making. Each chapter includes a discussion of its relevance and importance to the tourism economics literature, an overview of its main contributions and themes, a critical evaluation of existing literature and an outline of issues for further conceptual and applied research.
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Chapter 13: Tourism Satellite Accounts

Ray Spurr


Ray Spurr Introduction Measuring the contribution of tourism to the national economy has presented a long-running problem for policy makers, industry lobbyists and researchers. Proponents of tourism argue that the absence of credible economic measures of tourism has led to governments underestimating the benefits that tourism brings to their economies, particularly in comparison with other industries such as manufacturing where the outputs are easier to observe and quantify and which, for historical reasons, are more clearly reflected in government statistical collections. The difficulty in measuring the economic contribution of tourism arises from problems of both methodology and from the lack of comprehensive data. The economic impacts of tourism are complicated by the highly fragmented and dispersed nature of the suppliers of tourism goods and services, spread as they are across the economy generally. Conventional industries, as they have been defined in the System of National Accounts (SNA) as adopted by governments internationally, are characterized by the existence of a clearly identifiable product and set of producers. They can usually be measured by the direct economic effects incurred in the production of that product or products. To compare tourism with such existing industries, however, requires the construction of a ‘composite’ or ‘artificial’ tourism industry. This ‘composite industry’ has to be identified, at least initially, from the demand side by examining what it is that tourists purchase, rather than by going direct to the ‘supply-side’ producers of a clearly defined product. These statistical...

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