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Accounting for tourism. The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in perspective

18 June 2009

PhD ceremony: A.M. van de Steeg, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Accounting for tourism. The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in perspective

Promotor(s): prof. A.E. Steenge

Faculty: Economics and Business


The importance of tourism has increased considerably over the last couple of decades. This has fueled the need to better understand the role that tourism plays in a modern economy. The availability of internationally comparable economic statistics is of immense value in this respect, and is reflected in the central question I have addressed, i.e.: What should an accounting system look like that gives policy makers and decision takers the appropriate answers to questions surrounding tourism?

To provide those answers, national statistical institutes, such as our Statistics Netherlands, and a number of international organizations have proposed a system related to the current system of national accounts. This system is known as the TSA, the Tourism Satellite Account, (actually, a set of tables) where the term “satellite” is employed to express that the tourism accounts, though being related to the national accounts, have their own set of concepts and methodologies. The framework consists of a set of ten tables which together form the Tourism Satellite Account. The question addressed in my dissertation is whether this framework is good enough to fulfil its purpose, i.e. measuring the importance of tourism. A first conclusion of my study is that tables with regard to tourism consumption, production, employment and non-monetary indicators do not need, or hardly need, any adjustment. Two other tables are less appropriate and can be dismissed.

For countries with a relatively large share of tourism, the information provided at present is not sufficient; here an expansion of the statistical framework is required. I indicate which additional statistics are needed, and for the country of Aruba I have compiled a specific table in which these statistics are presented. In this table the interactions between tourism, governmental agencies, and foreign countries have become visible. Furthermore, in a sequence of transactions, the tourism-related money flows can be followed throughout the economy. I have also shown that the TSA statistics can be used for modelling purposes by means of an analysis of the structure of businesses flows in terms of tourism expenditure, employment, and related imports. The total effects of tourism in this specific country (Aruba) have been determined, using so-called multipliers, as being approximately 30 percent of GDP.


Read the thesis:


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.
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