Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth
Chapter 13: Tourism Satellite Accounts
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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