Launch Statistics NZ’s Tourism Satellite Account

  • Lockwood Smith

I am delighted to join you today for the launch of the Tourism Satellite Account.

The completion of this Account is a notable occasion for New Zealand as it places us on the leading edge of countries that have developed such accounts.

I understand that Australia, for example, is still twelve months away from completing its own Tourism Satellite Account, or TSA for short.

Later in today's presentation, you'll learn more about the detail of the TSA, and how it has been implemented.

But what I want to talk about today is why the TSA is so valuable, both to myself as Tourism Minister and more broadly, to the industry.

The TSA is significant because it meets a long-standing need of industry and Government for an official, credible measure of the contribution tourism makes to the national economy.

Let's face it - it's difficult to measure the contribution of the tourism industry to the national economy.

There are no products crossing national borders, and we can't follow tourists around the country and monitor every cent they spend.

The TSA allows us to extract meaningful information about the tourism industry, and aggregates total tourism activity.

It will enable us to better understand the dynamic of tourism in our economy and allow us to better plan for its continued development.

It will ensure that public and private-sector decision making, particularly in the key areas of research and investment, are better informed.

And the analysis of the 1995 year, presented here today, has produced exciting statistics about the tourism industry. It shows that:

 Tourism directly and indirectly supports 118,000 jobs;
 The industry generated 15.8% of New Zealand's export earnings, making tourism New Zealand's largest earning industry;
 Total tourism expenditure in New Zealand was $9.1 billion, comprising $4.3 billion of international tourism demand, and $4.8 billion of domestic tourism demand;
 The industry generated $850 million in GST revenue for the Government and a further $104 million in indirect taxes;
 Tourism expenditure comprised 10.5% of New Zealand's GDP;

These are impressive figures, but the significance of the TSA is that it allows us to compare New Zealand's record against other countries that have developed TSAs. For example:

 At 10.5% as a percentage of GDP, tourism expenditure is high for New Zealand compared with Canada at 5.1% or Norway at 6.1%.

 International tourism is particularly important for New Zealand with 47% of total tourism expenditure coming from international tourism compared to 15% for Canada, 19-22% for USA and 33% for Norway;

These comparisons reinforce what we already know, and that's the importance of tourism to New Zealand.

It is important bear in mind that the TSA95 is based on data that is four years old.

But it's worth noting that if tourism earnings have grown at the same rate as New Zealand's GDP growth, then total tourism expenditure in 1998 could be in excess of $10.3 billion.

It's also worth noting that while the TSA is a significant development, it forms part of a much broader programme to improve the information base of the tourism sector.

Other key initiatives include a Domestic Travel Survey and the preparation of Tourism Forecasts.

The completion of these initiatives together with existing tourism sector surveys will provide the tourism sector with a robust set of data to inform its development.

The challenge now is to secure ongoing commitment for these surveys and to ensure that the information is made available to users in a coherent and efficient way.

Many of you will know that the Office of Tourism and Sport has been allocated $800,000 in 1999/00 to support a number of programmes, including a further Tourism Satellite Account.

This will be a "real-time" TSA based on the latest tourism sector and industry data. It will also incorporate the latest developments of the TSA methodologies that are constantly being fine-tuned by the OECD and the World Tourism Organisation.

As Minister of Tourism, I am reliant upon quality information to do my job.

To have this official measure of the tourism industry will greatly assist me in my task of advocating the interests of the sector within Government.

But I should also stress that Government isn't the sole beneficiary.

The tourism industry will benefit from this data, and if it has faith in its own development (and I know that it does), then it must take steps to invest in its own future.

Finally, and on the basis on TSA95, it's official - tourism is New Zealand's largest foreign exchange earner and it makes a significant, quantifiable contribution to our economy.

This reinforces to me the tremendous future ahead for this industry in New Zealand.

Thank you.