Effective Reporting of the Travel and Tourism Industry Using Appropriate Data


Wednesday, November 29, 2017 10:53AM /NBS

Brief Remarks on Travel & Tourism Data in Nigeria by
Dr. Yemi Kale

1.       Let me start by saying that I am honored to be asked to share my thoughts with you today on strengthening the links between national statistics and the tourism industry. 

I am particularly delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with members of this collective, the Association of Travel & Tourism Writers of Nigeria, some of the recent efforts of the National Bureau of Statistics to enhance the quantity, quality and accessibility of data on Nigeria’s travel and tourism industry.

As content producers, everyone in this room represents a very important link in connecting government, the tourism private sector, and the public – both local and international. For us at the NBS, this forum therefore represents a key part of the process of engaging with industry stakeholders in a practical manner.

My remarks today will include definitions of tourism from a national statistics perspective, an overview of tourism satellite accounts, some recent trends and opportunities for growth, and I will round up by discussing some of the meaningful ways we hope NBS and ATTWON can collaborate going forward.

First, to be able to consistently measure and monitor the growth and impact of the tourism industry, it is important to agree on a standard definition of tourism. The word tourism normally conjures up images of leisure activities, or visits to well-known national treasures. 

For the purpose of computing national statistics, such as the GDP, NBS utilizes the UN/World Tourism Organization definition which states that “tourism comprises of all activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes” From this definition, we understand tourism to comprise of all economic activities of an individual which take place outside their normal setting.

For example, this can include food purchases on business trips, getting in and out of taxis, formal or shared accommodation, or buying items from markets. The broad scope of the tourism industry is made even more significant when we consider that it includes not just inbound travel from other countries, but also outbound travel from Nigeria to other countries, and domestic travel within the country.

From this definition it is easy to see the important role tourism can play within an economy. Indeed, the economic benefits of tourism are far-reaching - ranging from job creation, to increased revenue through taxes and foreign exchange, to improved local infrastructure. 

For households, particularly within rural areas, providing tourism-related services can also prove to be a much-needed source of additional income. Indeed, the travel and tourism sector affects several sub-sectors within the nation’s services industry.

Tourism directly impacts the transportation, accommodation & food services, and the arts and entertainment sectors. Through the purchase of souvenirs, gifts, clothing, and trinkets, it can also have a significant impact on some manufacturing sub-sectors. Apart from the economic benefits that I have already mentioned, the tourism sector has the distinction of also providing various social and cultural benefits to the society.

For example, through tourism activities we are able to reinforce cultural pride and the preservation of our unique heritage and traditions. The movement of people that usually comes with travel and tourism can help to broaden the horizons of both the local resident and the visitor, while the infrastructural development that is the backbone of tourism can provide recreational facilities to be enjoyed by the local community as well.

In Nigeria, tourism is still a nascent sector. In 2015, there were 1.3 million international tourist arrivals into Nigeria, a figure that puts the country at the 11th highest destination in Africa that year. This accounted for just 3.1% of total international tourism receipts for Africa, behind South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Tunisia, and Morocco. 

In order to promote a more evidenced-based approach to policy making, and to inform policy interventions to grow the tourism industry, the National Bureau of Statistics has taken a keen interest in improving the framework for tourism statistics. At the NBS, we are committed to the Tourism Satellite Accounts framework, recommended by the UN World Tourism Organization, as a method for compiling tourism statistics.

In simple terms, the TSA framework links tourism & travel statistics with the national accounts framework which underpins the calculation of the GDP. It attempts to capture the true size and importance of all tourism related activities within the economy by showing the links between tourism and the total environment in which tourism consumption occurs.

This means that in the compilation of the contribution of tourism to the GDP, we consider the interrelation between tourism activities and the different sectors within the economy. It considers not just the incomes earned from tourist activities, but also the administrative costs of providing such a service, for example, the fuel costs of the taxi driver, or the wages of workers in a hotel or restaurant.

In this manner, the TSA as a standard statistical framework enables the generation of tourism data such as Tourism Value Added, which is a main economic measurement of tourism.

5.      Given the nature of tourism and the largely informal state of the Nigerian economy, until recently, tourism data has been disaggregated and often times fragmented. At the NBS, we have begun to build the structure to compile the Tourism Satellite Account. 

There is already an established collaboration between the National Bureau of Statistics and other stakeholders such as the National Tourism Development Corporation (represented here), the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the National Immigration Service, and other Departments and Agencies, to build a system of tourism statistics that will feed into the Tourism Satellite Accounts.

A broader platform will soon be established to function as a forum where other stakeholders can also put forward their contributions towards the development of a robust TSA.

It is important to understand the approach to tourism data from a national accounts perspective as a precursor to the discussion around figures. This will allow a clearer assessment of the impact and progress of the tourism and travel industry. 

As I mentioned earlier, the contribution of tourism to GDP, derived from the Supply and Use Table of Nigeria, is a measurement of Tourism Value Added. While using the Supply and Use Table of Nigeria has its limitations, being dated from 2010 to 2012, it is still a useful way to evaluate the economic growth and trends of the tourism sector.

The contribution of tourism to GDP declined from 2.34% in 2010 to 1.77% in 2011, and then 1.22% in 2012. Although transportation makes the highest contribution to Tourism GDP, it has declined from 70% in 2010 to just over 50% in 2012. Perhaps unsurprising is the growth of the contribution of hotel and accommodation activities to tourism GDP. In 2010, hotels and accommodation contributed just 20% to the tourism economy, however by 2012, this figure had grown to 2012.

Of course, this growth as prompted more interest in the drivers of growth within the hotels and accommodations sub-sector. There are over 1000 hotels in Nigeria, but only a few are predominately used by inbound tourists, yet we can assume that everyone that arrives in the country or travels out of their usual residence will stay in a hotel, other accommodations such as short-lets, or in a private or shared accommodation.

We are in the process of designing a template, in collaboration with other supervisory agencies and associations, to further capture the composition and main growth drivers within this sub-sector.
 The rise of shared private accommodation for tourism purposes poses a challenge in monitoring; however we are considering the possibility of incorporating this type of service within the Household Establishment surveys that are conducted very quarter. 

This means in the near future we will be able to collect and disseminate indicators on occupancy rates, room capacity, bed capacity, total foreign guest nights, total local guest nights and average room rates, across the country.

In terms of transportation, the National Bureau of Statistics already publishes quarterly reports on international and domestic air passenger traffic. The main source of this information are the disembarkation cards given to visitors upon arrival into Nigeria. From these cards we can determine the purpose and duration of visits amongst other statistics. 

The NBS also receives information on scheduled airline capacity and seating capacity from the Ministry of Aviation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

These data sets help us compile information about the number of inbound passengers, total number of passengers discharged in Nigeria each month, the total number of passengers picked up from Nigeria picked up from Nigeria each month, and the nationality of inbound and outbound passengers.

I strongly believe, and I am sure many members present here today will agree, that Nigeria’s tourism sector is resilient and has a great tendency for continuous growth. We have a large domestic market to feed into the demand side of tourism, and increasing globalization and decreasing international air flight costs, have translated into an expanding foreign market and interest in Nigeria. 

It is projected for example, that the Lagos airport will receive over 10,000 passengers per day by 2031! For the supply side, we are endowed with various existing and potential areas of tourist attractions and destinations all across Nigeria.

The Gurara Falls in Niger state, the Calabar Drill Monkey Ranch, the Igbo-Ukwu Musuem in Anambra, to name a few, have continued to generate significant domestic and international interest. There is a need to build the right infrastructure, to address the security and safety concerns of visitors, and to harness the strength of local tourism affiliated departments and agencies, in order to realize the full potential of tourism on our economy.

The recent unveiling of Tour Nigeria by the NTDC, which promotes domestic tourism and enables local tourist consumption, is a great step in the right direction. The Economic Growth and Recovery Plan also lists Tourism as a priority sub-sector, ensuring a concerted effort across the federal government to boost the sector’s contribution to total GDP. These initiatives will no doubt increase the demand for accurate and reliable tourism statistics.

For us at the National Bureau of Statistics, we have focused our efforts on building partnerships, developing internal capacity for the compilation of Tourism Satellite Accounts, and improving the quantity, quality and accessibility of tourism statistics. 

I would like to encourage the members of this collective, travel and tourism content producers, to engage with the NBS website, particularly the e-library which has downloadable products for various tourism related data points. I also look forward to a closer collaboration between the NBS and travel and tourism writers, particularly in the area of data gathering, and data verification.

On our part, we will also endeavor to include collectives such as ATTWON in the existing collaboration efforts between NBS and other tourism stakeholders, and we would appreciate your support as the work on Tourism Satellite Accounts progresses.

Let me conclude by thanking the organizers of this forum for the courtesy of your invitation. I hope I have been able to shed some light on the state of tourism statistics today and the NBS approach to improving the accuracy and reliability of tourism data. 

I also look forward to the robust and frank discussions we will have today as we exchange ideas on how to improve the information flow between the government, private sector, and the public, as it pertains to the tourism industry. Thank you for listening and I wish everyone here a fruitful forum.

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