This article constructs tourism satellite accounts (TSAs) for Ireland and provides a simple matrix representation of how TSAs estimate value added, domestic product and employment. The authors calculate how much tourism has contributed, directly and in total, to Irish value added, domestic product and employment. They find that TSA-measured domestic tourism consumption in Ireland is over five times the traditional official estimate and that tourism indirectly contributes around a further 50% of its direct contribution to Irish GDP. As such, tourism is found to be Ireland’s second largest ‘industry’ in terms of gross value added and that it is Ireland’s largest employer. The analysis shows why tourism policies based on traditional estimates of the tourism industry are likely to be misguided.
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