Windhoek, Namibia, 19 May 2022 - In efforts to build back better and forward, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Namibia has today launched the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), providing a basis for the country moving forward towards resilience and economic diversification.
The development of this TSA is anchored under Strategic Objective Number two (2) of the National Strategy on Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development and Employment Creation Opportunities at the Community Level (202-2030), under activity “Revise and Strengthen Data and Tourism statistics.”.
In her opening remarks, Honourable Heather Sibungo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) said that the TSA aims to compile and present information about the participation of the tourism sector on the national economy.
She noted that Tourism, by contributing directly or indirectly a substantial share to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and being one of the largest sources of foreign exchange, plays a major role in the economy.
Ms Sibungo has lauded the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for responding positively to their request and by availing financial resources and contracting technical expertise to carry out this important national programme by capacitating the National TSA Committee which comprises of members from Office Ministries Agencies (O/M/As).
Meanwhile, the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) to Namibia, H.E. Mr. Sen Pang, in his remarks said that the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic revealed the importance of various sectors to maintain statistics for the purpose of providing economic stimulus and to develop an effective recovery plan.
He noted “It is undisputed that the economic fallout from closures due to the covid19 pandemic disproportionately affected the tourism sector; the industry lost approximately 3.2 billion Namibian dollars or USD 220 million due to the severe disruptions.”
Mr. Pang was particularly encouraged to note that after the successful partnership with UNESCO and UNDP, the Government of Namibia has taken the step further to partner with UNECA for the strengthening of tourism data collection and reporting systems.
Mr Pang observed that the TSA is particularly relevant to Namibia’s tourism sector as it works towards sustainable recovery and growth from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic but also to other economic sectors through the ripple effects generated.
On his part, Alex Shimuafeni, Statistician-General and CEO, Namibia Statistics Agency said that tourism statistics are necessary for designing marketing strategies, strengthening inter-institutional relations, evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of management decisions and measuring tourism throughout the national economy.
It is crucial for Namibia to develop a TSA that will provide us with the answer on the contribution of tourism to the economy, and I am happy that the NSA and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism are working toward realizing this milestone” Mr Shimuafeni emphasised.
Speaking at the same event, Namibia Tourism Board CEO, Mr Digu Naobeb noted that the TSA is complex in its structure and dimensions; thus, it requires multiple stakeholders input and involvement.
“This approach had worked and delivered fruits. We hope that we shall continue involving a multidisciplinary approach" he added.
Chief of Inclusive Industrialization in UNECA Sub-Regional Office Southern Africa, Ms Olayinka Bandele expressed her delight at UNECA joining as a partner to support the MEFT to deliver the TSA. Noting the wealth of experience from UNECA supporting similar TSA capacity building projects in East Africa she highlighted that the Namibia participants would have an opportunity to share ideas and learn best practices, as well as challenges that have arisen in the other countries, as specialists from Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda are joining the capacity building workshop taking place next week.
Meanwhile UNECA Tourism Consultant, Prof. Pius O. Odunga in his presentation said TSA would increase and improve knowledge of tourism's importance concerning overall economic activity in a given country; develop quantitative estimates of tourism value added and, thus, analyze the importance of tourism to an economy among others.
“Overall, TSA provides the basis for applying tourism multipliers and other models to measure the secondary and tertiary impacts of tourism expenditure across the whole economy”, he added.
And in her closing remarks and vote of thanks, MEFT’s Deputy Executive, Ms Seimy Shidute, implored all tourism stakeholders, especially the private sector to fully avail the required data for the development of the TSA to the National TSA Committee.
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.
Mr Bedson Nyoni | Senior Information Management Assistant | UNECA SRO-SA| Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Romeo Muyunda |Chief Public Relations Officer |Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Windhoek, Namibia| Email: | Email: Romeo.Muyunda@meft.gov.na