Determinants of Tourism and its Potential for Sustainable Economic Development : Empirical Evidence
Like in several sectors of consumer demand, attitudes, believes, and the political environment may also influence the worldwide demand for tourism. Consequentially, this thesis concentrates on a wider range of determinants including non-economical factors of tourism demand and supply in both the country of origin and destination at a worldwide scale. So, the aim of the thesis was to show how the most relevant economical, geographical and socio-cultural determinants influence the demand for tourism. The second intent was to analyze whether and how (sustainable) tourism can be a trigger for economic development. The thesis comprises four main chapters composed of four single published papers. The results show that tourism is able to enhance economic growth in countries specialized in this industry. However, this requires some special condition in both the country of origin and the country of destination. We show that tourism is a superior good, as the development level measured by income in the country of origin plays a major role in explaining tourism demand. Hence, it is evidenced that an increasing willingness to pay for outbound tourism goes hand in hand with an increasing per capita income in the world. However, cultural openness of a society is an important precondition from the country of origins’ point of view. Regarding the tourism exporting countries (countries of destination), the most interesting outcome of the thesis is that biodiversity as proxy for “nice nature” is an important supply factor; besides the countries’ cultural heritages, good governance and visitor’s safety as well. Together with the tourism’s potential to enhance economic growth, this reflects the value biodiversity can play for economic development. Hence, the most important requirement for this mechanism is the allocation of property rights on biodiversity to private or public (land-) owners to give them an economic incentive to use “their” nature sustainably.