Kathmandu, August 23
In the backdrop of disparity in available tourism statistics in the country, the government is — for the first time — preparing to set up a tourism satellite account to evaluate the sector’s overall state and its impact on the national economy.
A committee led by Krishna Devkota, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), and comprising representatives from Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), has initiated the groundwork to set up the tourism satellite account, which is basically a standard statistical framework and a tool to measure the economic impact of tourism.
Many countries across the world use tourism satellite account to measure the economic impact of tourism sector as it is not a traditional industry and is therefore not included explicitly in the government’s statistical system.
In want of proper data collection, evaluation and management system, Nepal government does not have a concrete record on the contribution of tourism industry in the national gross domestic product (GDP), number of foreign tourists visiting the country, the economic activities they engage in and the amount of money they spend. Though it is claimed that tourism sector’s contribution to
national GDP has increased in recent years, the actual contribution is still unknown.
Moreover, there is also disparity in the available statistics on inflow of foreign tourists in Nepal. Though government statistics reveal that 940,218 foreign tourists visited Nepal in 2017 via both land and air routes, a recent survey titled ‘Overland Indian Visitors Survey 2017’, carried out by MoCTCA showed that Nepal received more than 1.2 million tourists just from India through land route in the last fiscal year.
In this context, the tourism satellite account will basically measure the contribution of tourism industry to the national GDP, tourism’s ranking compared to other economic sectors, the number of jobs created by tourism in the economy, the amount of investment in the sector, tax revenue generated by tourism industries, tourism consumption, tourism’s impact on Nepal’s balance of payments, among others.
Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of NTB, expressed belief that the tourism satellite account will help reveal a clear picture of Nepal’s tourism industry and its impact not only on other sectors but the overall economy as well. “We had been planning to set up such an account since long to acquire a unified statistics on Nepal’s tourism. As necessary groundwork has been initiated, we will release the tourism satellite account within this fiscal year,” informed Joshi.
Meanwhile, the government has also sought technical assistance for setting up the account from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
A version of this article appears in print on August 24, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.