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The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) has become the internationally recognized framework by which to measure tourism activity in an economy. This handbook is intended to help readers better understand how tourism data are compiled in this framework. It does this in the context of the Canadian Tourism Satellite Account (CTSA), which provides Statistics Canada's official measures of tourism's contribution to the economy and jobs in Canada.

Role of the Tourism Satellite Account

The CTSA serves a number of purposes. First and foremost, it provides a coherent framework within which to integrate, reconcile, organize and analyse the variety of economic statistics relevant to tourism, both on the supply (i.e., industry) side and on the demand (i.e., tourist) side. This is important because tourism is not an explicitly identified industry within the statistical system as it cross-cuts several industries. The CTSA serves to pull tourism's various components together and, as such, it explicitly defines the tourism industry within the statistical system.

Second, being rooted in the Canadian System of National Economic Accounts (CSNEA), the CTSA provides an economic measure of the importance of tourism in terms of expenditures, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment which are comparable with similar measures for the overall economy. As such, it permits a comparison with other industries in terms of output, employment and so on.

The CTSA also serves as the foundation for a variety of related statistical products including (i) the National Tourism Indicators, which provide timely quarterly macroeconomic information on the state of tourism in Canada, (ii) the Tourism Human Resource Module which provides detailed annual information on jobs in the tourism industries, and (iii) studies on the government revenue that can be attributed to tourism, for instance.

Last, but not least, the CTSA has served to define what are considered to be the tourism commodities and the tourism industries, and has consequently helped and continues to help to shape the development of tourism statistics in Canada. Moreover, it has been influential in the shaping of the international TSA standard, as the Canadian example was one of the first anywhere in the world.

Aim of the handbook

This handbook is intended as a guide to how the CTSA is compiled. The goal is to articulate the Account as far as possible by describing its concepts and definitions, and especially its sources and methods. At the same time, the handbook serves as a supplement to the CTSA for the year 2002, as the description of sources and methods relates to the compilation of the Account for that year.

It is important to note at the outset that a redesigned domestic travel survey was initiated in 2005, the Travel Survey of Residents of Canada (TSRC), which included a refined operational definition of tourism. However, this will not require any fundamental change in the methodology of the CTSA as described here. Consequently, the handbook will remain relevant even after the integration of the new TSRC results in the CTSA.

Coming just over a decade after the release of the first TSA for Canada, this handbook is one of the first guides to compilation of a TSA anywhere in the world. It is hoped that sharing Canada's practical experience in this area can benefit other countries and interested practitioners in developing and understanding TSAs.

Outline of the handbook

To outline the rest of the handbook, Chapter 2 covers information on the relevant tourism and national accounting concepts and definitions. Chapter 3 outlines the various survey data sources. This is followed in chapter 4 with explanations of how these data are assembled in the Input-Output (I-O) tables, the main source of data on production of tourism commodities. The methodology of the CTSA is examined in chapter 5. This chapter describes how the tourism components in the Input-Output tables are identified, separated and further refined, using the CTSA 2002 as an example. The provincial/territorial dimensions of the CTSA, as well as issues of data quality and reliability are also covered. Chapter 6 explains the tables of the CTSA and compares them with the international standard. The concluding chapter outlines areas for improving the Account.