By holding workshops for tourism satellite accounts (TSA), a statistical framework and the main tool for measuring its economic impact, the statistics authority is helping local governments figure out how much the travel industry really helps the local economy.

Vivian Ilarina, assistant national statistician at the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), explained that TSA will help to disaggregate tourism-related production, which data will be critical to strengthening programs for stakeholders and the industry.

Palawan hosted the four-day training workshop from January 31 to February 3 on the compilation of subnational TSA and related indicators under Luzon Cluster for the regions of MIMAROPA, NCR, and Bicol.

“In the tourism satellite accounts, hihiwalayin namin yon, yong mga tourism products na ibinenta ng mga establishment na nagpoproduce sa turista. Yong mga services industries, transportation, hotels, accommodations, yong services na ina-avail ng turista. Tapos isa-sum up namin lahat yong mga income by hotels, by accommodation, by manufacturing na binenta nila sa tourist,” she said.

TSA presents the inbound tourism expenditures, domestic tourism expenditures, outbound tourism expenditures, internal tourism expenditures, Gross Value Added of Tourism Industries (GVATI), Tourism Industries Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA), and Employment in Tourism Industries of the country in a particular year.

It also offers other tourism-related indicators such as the share of tourism output to the total economy and the share of tourism employment to total employment, the PSA further explained.

Ilarina said that PSA has a system of national accounts where economic performance of the country, regions, and provinces are measured. The tourism commodities or activities are included in the 16 major industries.

However, the production was not determined if it was consumed by the domestic population or by tourists.

“For example, marami dito sa Palawan, El Nido, Coron, daming tourist destinations. Pero doon sa pagconsolidate ng incomes ng local government of Palawan, hindi nila nahihiwalay kung ano yong income coming from the tourism, expenditures from tourism or investment of the local government for tourism,” she said.

PSA believes that the data from TSA could support the need for the local level statistics as it would strengthen the local level planning and policies.

The agency envisions to have a data-driven policy making especially that tourism industry is now at its recovery phase after height of pandemic, she added.

“Napakaimportante non so that they would need data, more information to really make sure that policies, programs, decision they make in the province will be supported by the data,” she said.

TSA roadmap

Before conducting the training workshop in the Luzon cluster, PSA had already started the activity in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in 2021, followed by regions VI, VII, and VIII in the Visayas area in 2022.

The roadmap for PSA aims to cover all 17 regions by 2025. Despite the fact that the TSA has been in place at the national level since 2000, PSA is working to improve local-level statistics in each province.

Data will help local government units, particularly in the transition under the Mandanas-Garcia ruling or devolution.

“The participation of the local government is data support and ensures that they will use the accounts. Definitely, this account is not for PSA, we are addressing the needs of local-level planners, and policymaking at the local level. “Especially now, with the Mandanas-Garcia ruling,” she added.

On the other hand, she also said that Palawan was the first of 81 provinces to set up provincial product accounts in 1998. These accounts were later brought back in 2021.