The Vision for 2020/ 2030 envisages a large increase in tourism, recognising its importance for local jobs and local incomes. To continue to manage so substantial an industry, it is essential that there are statistics available to help with the key economic decision-making.
VNAT (Vietnam National Administration for Tourism), the Tourism Information Technology Centre (TITC) and the General Statistics Office (GSO) collect a range of statistics which provide the key economic indicators, currently eight provided by GSO and seven delineated by the Ministry for Culture Sport and Tourism (MCST). TITC has prepared a preliminary Pilot Tourism Satellite Account, a highly sophisticated exercise, for the reference year 2008.
Vietnam continues to pursue the main international statistical standards which are embodied in the International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics (IRTS 2008) and the Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework (TSA:RMF 2008), both prepared under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
A Workshop took place on July 20th attended by all the interested parties in tourism statistics including GSO and including the private sector (VITA) where the current situation and potential improvements in tourism statistics were discussed. ESRT PIU’s tourism statistics expert outlined his recommendations for Vietnam’s tourism statistics, and the workshop participants outlined their views, along with suggestions on ways forward.
For international inbound tourism statistics, the Workshop endorsed the ESRT recommendations which concerned refinements to purpose and country of residence of incoming tourists, along with the release of more data from the Immigration authorities. Recognising the difficulties with definitions and with implementation, TITC put forward the suggestion of a workshop on these specific issues with the interested parties, as a next step.
For domestic tourism statistics the Workshop endorsed the recommendations that in the longer term there is a need for a ‘tourism module’ in the Housing Living Standards Survey by GSO, whilst in the short term, as a next step, more sample surveys were needed to try to link the domestic data to the main GSO sample survey in commercial accommodation.
The Workshop accepted that an inter-institutional coordination, particularly between tourism and the GSO, was needed to take the TSA forward. Putting together the Core TSA Team (the professionals to carry out the work) was seen as the key challenge.
Whilst there are many technical issues to be resolved in tourism statistics, raising human resource capacities is seen as central to ESRTs planning for statistics training (at various levels). More and better tourism statistics have spin off benefits for a range of activities such as tourism marketing, tourism product development, and enhancing environmentally and socially responsible tourism. For example, more sample surveys allow more marketing questions to be inserted into them. As tourism grows in Vietnam, so will the tourism statistics be expanded to support the decisions for so important an activity.
David McEwen - Tourism Statistics Expert