Recent Advances in Tourism Economics – by Larry Dwyer

September 27, 2013

Author Articles, Economics Finance

Tourism in southern bangladesh

photo credit: joiseyshowaa via Flickr cc

September 27 has been established as World Tourism Day by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The aim of the day is to raise awareness that tourism is vital to the international community and to show how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.

It is not surprising that tourism has been highlighted as a significant world industry, and research in the area of tourism economics has increased substantially in recent years. Larry Dwyer is a leading scholar in this area and has recently co-edited a two-volume work which comprises a selection of seminal articles published over the past decade, specifically chosen for their theoretical content and contribution to informed policy making. 

Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Despite occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have shown virtually uninterrupted growth – from 25 million in 1950, to 278 million in 1980, 528 million in 1995, and 1,035 million in 2012. Domestic tourism accounts for an addition 5-6 billion tourists annually. The economic contribution of tourism to the world economy is substantial, accounting for $1.3 trillion, or 6% of worlds export, and 9% of (direct and indirect) GDP. The number of international tourist arrivals worldwide is expected to increase by an average 3.3% a year over the period 2010 to 2030.

Over time, an increasing number of destinations have opened up and invested in tourism development, turning modern tourism into a key driver for socioeconomic progress.  For many developing countries, it is one of the main income sources and the number one export category, creating much needed employment and opportunities for development. Factors underpinning this development include the growth of incomes and wealth, improvements in transport internationally and within destinations, changing lifestyles, consumer values and aspirations, increased leisure time, international openness and globaliza­tion, immigration, special events, education, information and communication technologies, destination marketing and promotion, improved general and tourism infrastructure etc. Travel is now part of consumer patterns for an increasing number of people in both emerging and advanced economies underlining the need to rightly place tourism as one of the key pillars of socio-economic development, being a leading contributor to economic growth, exports and jobs. Since there are economic consequences to all of these changes, it is not surprising that research in the area of tourism economics has increased substantially during the same period.

The importance of tourism to the world’s economy makes the two volume publication – Recent Developments In The Economics Of Tourism – very timely. The economic significance of tourism internationally and for individual countries indicates the importance of an understanding of the role that tourism economics can play in theoretical development, empirical research and policy formulation. This book provides a collection of some of the most important contributions to tourism economics over the past decade. It is published in two volumes: Volume 1 Demand, Supply, Pricing, Taxation, Employment and the Environment, includes 37 papers on the topics of tourism demand modelling and forecasting, supply and pricing, taxation, environmental economics, tourism transport, and employment issues. Volume 11, Trade, Development, Impacts, Competitiveness includes 36 papers on the topics of tourism and economic growth, international trade, social issues and welfare effects, economic impacts, tourism in crisis, and destination competitiveness. The contributions include content from many of the world’s leading tourism economists.

The editors acknowledge that the papers collected in this volume and the topic areas selected are only some of those worthy of inclusion. Clearly the choice of which papers and topics to include and which to exclude came down to matters of judgment. Inevitably, a number of important papers have not been included in this edition. Readers will have their own ideas, for and against, the editors’ selections.

Ongoing research is progressively expanding the boundaries of our knowledge of tourism economics. The directions for further research highlighted by the authors whose works constitute this volume are just some of those that could be formulated. Readers will have their own ideas as to which research topics are most relevant for the future. Changing global trends (economic, social, demographic, political, technological and environmental) will continually pose challenges to economic theory and policy and the ways tourism activity is analysed. Whatever the specific topics that researchers will address in the coming years, it is clear that tourism economics provides a fertile ground for research with the potential to inform policy-making to improve socio-economic prosperity in all destinations worldwide.

Interestingly, despite its importance, tourism is not an area that has engaged the widespread interest of academic economists. It is to be hoped that this volume of collected papers will inspire other researchers to develop the creative ideas of the authors to further progress knowledge creation in the dynamic discipline of tourism economics.

Larry Dwyer is Professor of Travel and Tourism Economics in the School of Marketing, Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales. He publishes widely in the areas of tourism economics, management and policy, with 200 publications in international journals, government reports, books, book chapters, and monographs. He receives many invitations to give keynote addresses at international tourism conferences and workshops worldwide, and has been awarded numerous research grants to contribute to tourism knowledge. He is President of the International Academy for Study of Tourism, the world’s peak academic tourism association. He is also President of the International Association for Tourism Economics. Larry is an appointed member of the Editorial Boards of twenty one international tourism journals. His main leisure interests are tennis and swimming.

Recent Developments In The Economics Of Tourism, co-edited by Larry Dwyer and Neelu Seetaram, was published earlier this year.

Book cover - Recent Developments in The Economics of Tourism


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