Qatar to promote travel sector through new tourism satellite account

by  — 13 August 2013

Aiming to establish Qatar as a tourist destination, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is set to put in place a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which is a data management system that tracks the statistics related to tourist activities.

Tourists visit Al Zubara fort, one of Qatar’s tourist sites. Qatar is seeking to promote itself as a travel destination through a tourism satellite account. (Image Corbis)

TSA is the only satellite account system approved by the United Nations Statistical Commission. Speaking to The Edge, Oliver Herrmann, director, Statistics and Tourism Satellite Programme, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), United Nations, said, “Qatar’s tourism sector will benefit from having a TSA as it will give a better understanding of the tourism phenomenon with a clearer picture and more reliable information of the sector.”

Once in place, the system will help measure the economic impact of tourist activities carried out in the country. Tony Williams, QTA’s tourism development consultant explained, this will be done by keeping a track of the data such as the average spend on every guest, origin of tourists and the amount they spend, type of credit card used, where the money is spent, number of visitors coming and the frequency of their visits etcetera. 

“Having a TSA will allow tourism to be understood in the same way as other sectors of the economy – demonstrating its contribution to GDP in the same way that is done for agriculture or construction,” said Herrmann.

Emphasising the need of TSA for Qatar, Williams said that while Qatar has the basic infrastructure such as hotels and sports facilities to support the tourism industry, the focus at present has been limited to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector. The launch of TSA will promote Qatar’s tourism in the global industry.

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation report TSA Data Around the World, Qatar was not on the list of the 60 countries, including GCC countries Oman and Saudi Arabia, that had been identified as having produced or started developing TSA by 2012. “Qatar as a destination appears in very few of the European leisure magazines and brochures,” Williams said, highlighting the importance of TSA for Qatar’s growing travel and tourism sector. 

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