Tourism and Economic Development: the Beach Disease?


Mario Holzner

wiiw Working Paper No. 66, June 2010
31 pages including 9 Tables and 1 Figure

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This paper analyses empirically the danger of a Dutch Disease Effect in tourism-dependent countries in the long run. Data on 134 countries of the world over the period 1970-2007 is used. In a first step the long-run relationship between tourism and economic growth is analysed in a cross-country setting. The results are then checked in a panel data framework on GDP per capita levels that allows to control for reverse causality, non-linearity and interactive effects. It is found that there is no danger of a Beach Disease Effect. On the contrary, tourism-dependent countries do not face real exchange rate distortion and deindustrialization but higher than average economic growth rates. Investment in physical capital, such as transport infrastructure, is complementary to investment in tourism.


Keywords: tourism, Dutch Disease, economic development

JEL classification: F43, L83, O14

Countries covered: non specific

Research Areas: International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI, Sectoral studies