Assembly looks at tourism data tracking

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is currently examining the possibility of applying a Satellite Accounting system to evaluate the impact and contribution of tourism on the island’s economy.

Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, Joel Jack, sees the benefits of collecting data that can be used to make strategic decisions regarding Tobago’s tourism.

The Secretary met with various organisations recently on a trip to Barbados, including the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Barbados Productivity Council and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus to discuss the prospects for further partnerships between the two islands.

Jack said CTO representatives have committed to providing detailed, tourism-specific data for both Trinidad and Tobago.

“Once the methodology is utilised, we should have greater capability to track arrivals, occupancy and visitor expenditure and the overall impact of the tourism sector on the economy,” Jack said during last Thursday’s (April 9) post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.

“This data will prove invaluable and will satisfy some of the demands made by some industry-specific stakeholders,” Jack said.

Jack met with the CDB to discuss opportunities and assistance for funding the Tobago’s development projects. The Secretary said the bank’s representatives committed to meeting the THA and he expects a CDB delegation to visit the island.

Another objective of the trip was to identify a talent pool at the UWI, Cave Hill campus to assist the THA Fiscal Policy Unit with economic research.

“One of the challenges we have continuously faced is a shortage of Tobago’s specific economic data,” Jack explained, “and this arrangement with the University’s Department of Economics will strengthen the Fiscal Policy Unit and our ability to provide even more accurate fiscal projections and sound economic information to the Tobago public.”

The Finance Secretary stressed the urgent need to solve work force productivity and output level issues. He said the Assembly is keen to set up a productivity council, which is part of the mandate of the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan for Tobago 2.0 (2013-2017).

The Council, Jack believes, will assist the Assembly and the island in research, education and necessary technical support and improve its level of competitiveness.

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