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Dubai's DTCM to implement Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) system

Travel News Asia 2 October 2002

Key personnel from Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) received a comprehensive briefing from representatives of the world's leading economic information, consulting and forecasting firm - DRI-WEFA - a global insight company about the Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) system that they have developed for Dubai.

We initiated the TSA last year because this system will serve as a strategic tool to fully comprehend the contribution of tourism to Dubai's economy at a level of detail never before analyzed in the region, said DTCM Director General, Khalid A. bin Sulayem.

The implementation of Dubais TSA - an international measurement standard would facilitate policy-makers, potential investors and business analysts to use it as a tactical tool to make informed business decisions, observed Mr. bin Sulayem.

TSA was ratified by the United Nations in March, 2000 to provide an accurate measurement system for the economic value of tourism. It applies a UN approved economic modules and formulas to decide the direct and indirect contribution of the different components of tourism and its related activities and it is the only available UN approved method for measuring the full economic impact of tourism on the economy and it is the only available UN approved method for measuring the full economic impact of tourism in the economy.

DTCM retained the consulting firm, DRI-WEFA to develop the accounts using official data from Dubai Department of Economic Development, Central Bank of the U.A.E., Emirates Airlines, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Customs, Dubai Ports Authority, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.A.E. Ministry of Planning.

DRI-WEFA is the most experienced firm in the world in TSA development, having completed TSAs for over 15 countries and states around the world. They were commissioned by the DTCM to create the Dubai TSA and for the installation of Global Tourism Navigator (a trend analysis software package) for further analysis of international tourism markets that includes access to relevant information about 158 countries. 

Although numerous countries and states in Asia, North America and Europe are developing TSAs, Dubai will be the first in the Gulf to fully implement the TSA standard soon. 

Some countries have allocated up to five years to develop their TSA system, as they require multiple data sources and substantial economic accounting expertise. For Dubai, the turnaround time was just under one year.

TSA uses a basic core of concepts, classifications, definitions and tables that represent the universal language used by governments and the industry when measuring the economic impact of tourism.

In October of 1994, Canada was the first country to release the results of a TSA. Since then, a number of countries including France, United Kingdom, Poland, Morocco, Tunisia, Cte dIvoire, Mexico, USA, Dominican Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and India have undertaken assessment programmes for the development of a Tourism Satellite Account. 

According to DRI-WEFAs Senior Principal, Adam Sacks who was the project manager for the Dubai TSA, this relatively fast development was due to a number of factors. One factor was the consistent support of DTCM. The One Stop Information Center (OSIC) of DTCM maintains detailed historical data on tourism that fulfilled major data requirements.

In addition, DTCM acted as a liaison with all of the other government and private sector offices that provided data into the accounts. This streamlined the data collection process across eight separate organizations. Another factor was the strong support of eight separate government agencies that provided detailed economic, demographic, transportation and other relevant data. This wide support has provided both efficiency and credibility to the research.

The DTCM plans to transfer the TSA know-how from DRI-WEFA to DTCM staff to enable them to handle this very important task in-house in the near future.

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