Editorial Introduction

  • Álvaro Matias
  • Peter Nijkamp
  • Manuela Sarmento


It is fascinating to watch an anthill. Thousands of ants are extremely busy, and show an extraordinary mobility drift. Their movements may sometimes look a little bit chaotic, but a closer inspection brings to light that they all follow certain rules. Their apparent chaos hides rational behavioural patterns instigated by their sense of collective survival. It is equally fascinating to watch a modern large airport. There, thousands of people are moving around, in all directions, and the spectator gets the superficial impression of a strange chaotic system. But, here again, we know that this seemingly chaotic mobility pattern is governed by the strict behavioural rules of air travellers – mostly tourists – who are rationally seeking to reach their final destination. The difference between ants and airline passengers is perhaps that ants do not know how to relax, whereas tourists seek to relax through their trips. But in all cases, we observe mass movements that are induced by rational choice mechanisms.


Geographical Weighted Regression Tourism Destination International Tourism Tourism Demand Environmental Management Practice 
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1.1 Introduction

It is fascinating to watch an anthill. Thousands of ants are extremely busy, and show an extraordinary mobility drift. Their movements may sometimes look a little bit chaotic, but a closer inspection brings to light that they all follow certain rules. Their apparent chaos hides rational behavioural patterns instigated by their sense of collective survival. It is equally fascinating to watch a modern large airport. There, thousands of people are moving around, in all directions, and the spectator gets the superficial impression of a strange chaotic system. But, here again, we know that this seemingly chaotic mobility pattern is governed by the strict behavioural rules of air travellers – mostly tourists – who are rationally seeking to reach their final destination. The difference between ants and airline passengers is perhaps that ants do not know how to relax, whereas tourists seek to relax through their trips. But in all cases, we observe mass movements that are induced by rational choice mechanisms.

In our age of globalization, tourism has become a lifestyle, almost a part of our daily lives. Worldwide, the volume of tourism is still on a rising edge, and with the growth of the emerging economies it seems plausible that both domestic and international tourism will continue to be one of the most dynamic industrial sectors.

For several decades, tourism has enjoyed strong interest from various scientific disciplines, in particular geography, economics, and management. It is noteworthy that one of the leading geographers of the last century, Walter Christaller – the world famous inventor of the hierarchical Central Place Theory – in his later career wrote one of the first articles on the geography of tourism (see Christaller 1964). Almost 50 years ago, he was able to pinpoint one of the prominent drivers of tourist behaviour: namely to relax in undiscovered or unknown places, but nevertheless non-central places “you ought to have seen”. He identified several places with unspoilt nature and absolute tranquillity. Interestingly enough, many of these places are nowadays tourist hotspots largely affected by mass tourism.

In the twenty-first century, Christaller’s ‘core-periphery’ model still applies, but as tourism activity turns increasingly global, another important flow emerges and consolidates in the opposite direction, often from peripheral areas into large urban centres, with the latter (e.g. New York, Paris, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Amsterdam or Rome) attracting herds of tourists regardless of seasonality trends (Mathieson and Wall 1982).

Modern tourism has in fact many faces, ranging from visits to local amenities to ‘space tourism’ (for the happy few). Tourism mirrors the diversity in lifestyles in a modern society; some tourists only want to relax, whereas others want to enjoy an unprecedented experience. But in all cases, we witness a new trend in tourism, viz. the emancipated tourist who is well prepared and well-informed, and who wants to have ‘value for money’. Tourism has turned into an advanced high-tech sector, which has spread out all over the world.

The tourist industry nowadays is a complex and multifaceted local/global system, with many actors and places involved. From a systemic perspective, it makes sense to distinguish three force fields, viz.: the behavioural patterns on the demand side; the organizational and institutional structures on the supply side; and the macro-systemic impacts of tourism from an economic and ecological viewpoint. These three force fields also form the cornerstones of the present volume on ‘Quantitative Methods in Tourism Economics’, in which a rich set of refreshing and original quantitative research methods and results concerning tourism economics are included. The methods and models presented here address:
  • Behavioural issues (Part I);

  • Supply of tourist amenities (Part II);

  • Macro and sustainability issues (Part III).

Each of these three parts is further subdivided into individual papers of a quantitative nature. We now provide a concise positioning of each contribution.

Part I, on the behavioural aspects of tourism economics, contains a selection of six quantitative analyses of the behaviour and/or attitude of tourists. This part begins with a study by Ana María Campón Cerro, Helena Maria Baptista Alves and José Manuel Hernández Mogollón on a conceptual framework for measuring loyalty in tourism. The authors argue that a successful marketing strategy must focus not only on winning new customers but also on maintaining the loyalty of hard-won existing ones. The relational approach to marketing sets customer loyalty as a strategic objective, given that many firms have come to realize the economic importance of a loyal customer base. Operationalizing the construct of loyalty in the tourism industry is fraught with difficulties. Researchers have chosen to use a wide variety of conceptualizations in their causal models of the determinants of loyalty in tourism. The aim of this study is to examine the treatment and the operationalization of the loyalty construct in tourism, based on the results of several studies found in its literature review. The research that has been examined focuses on what produces loyalty to destination, accommodation, and other tourism products of interest, and that was published in the form of either scientific articles or Spanish and international doctoral theses. The fundamental research question is, therefore, to find out how to measure loyalty on the basis of those elements that generate value for the tourist at the destination level.

Next, Antónia Correia and Pedro Pimpão pay attention to the often unknown intentions of tourists to return to the same destination. The question why and how tourists decide to revisit the same destination is a topic that still deserves solid empirical research. The aim of their chapter is to examine return behavioural intentions of tourists, by considering their motivations and trip characteristics, and by disentangling nationalities and individual characteristics to account for the heterogeneity of tourists. The empirical research, using a mixed logit model, was conducted on the basis of a sample of British and German tourists who had visited the Algarve (Portugal) in 2009. The results of this study – apart from confirming that pull motivational factors exert more influence on destination return intentions than push motivational factors – show that the profile and intentions of German and British tourists are rather heterogeneous. The managerial implications of these findings point to the need to address specific markets.

A subsequent study undertaken by Carolina Fernandes, Manuela Sarmento and Alvaro Matias concerns youth tourism, in particular the satisfaction of what are known as ‘interrailers’ (mainly young backpacking tourists). Youth tourism is a segment of tourism that has recently experienced accelerated growth; it is a well-known market segment in global travel. For the young generation, InterRailing is a well-known form of travelling, due to its low-cost nature. The research analyses backpacking with the objective of defining and comparing the satisfaction of interrailers concerning the quality of services offered in Italy, Greece and Croatia. Four main tourism activities were analysed: namely, transportation, accommodation, catering and local tourism entertainment. Two scientific methods of observation are used: direct observation and inductive natural quantitative exploration. This study was based on a mix of enquiries among, and interviews of, interrailers travelling in a certain period. The application of descriptive and multivariate statistics allows the authors to extract interesting conclusions from their study. A main finding is the existence of substantial differences in interrailers’ satisfaction regarding the transportation service and local tourist entertainment. This difference was not found for accommodation and catering, in all three destinations concerned.

The behaviour of tourists is diverse, and hence difficult to forecast. Riëtte Louw and Andrea Saayman present a forecasting study on tourism in South Africa, using a single equation causal approach. International tourist arrivals in South Africa have increased significantly over the past 15 years, and the country is ranked amongst the top-30 most popular destinations. It is therefore necessary to undertake evidence-based research on forecasting tourism demand in South Africa. This chapter aims to expand on forecasting intercontinental tourism demand for South Africa by using a single equation causal approach. Autoregressive Distributed Lag models, supplemented with an error correction term, are estimated for tourist arrivals from Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, South America, and the United Kingdom. In-sample (ex post) forecasts were performed as well, and the forecasting accuracy was evaluated.

Tourist behaviour is increasingly influenced by the rapid development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Célia Ramos and Paulo Rodrigues provide, therefore, a study on the importance of ICT for tourism by employing a dynamic panel study. The complementary nature of tourism products requires information to be easily accessible from different places around the globe. Electronic distribution in tourism has facilitated the sharing, communication, and booking of products, and has contributed to the increase of tourism demand, as well as to the emergence of a new type of traveller: one who seeks more experiences and sophistication in his travels. The Internet is of increasing importance as a result of the sharp growth in the number of online reservations observed over recent years. Hence, current tourism demand analysis cannot neglect electronic tourism, so that, in addition to typically-used determinants, variables that represent the impact of the technological environment on tourism activity also need to be considered. In this chapter, using dynamic panel data models, evidence is found that the Internet has encouraged the increase of tourism demand and may in fact be one of its determinants.

A final quantitative study in Part I addresses the relationship between migration and tourism, with an application to New Zealand. The author, Murat Genc, argues that tourism is an important sector in many countries as a source of foreign exchange earnings. Not surprisingly, agencies such as the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the World Trade Organization have been treating tourism processes as an equivalent to actual goods exports. Understanding the factors that affect the flows of international tourism has been an important issue in empirical research in tourism. One of the main methodologies used in the empirical analysis of tourism demand is based on the well-known gravity model. Gravity models have been used extensively in empirical studies in the area of international trade. This chapter estimates a gravity model by using an unbalanced panel data set consisting of more than 190 countries with whom New Zealand has traded between the years 1981 and 2006. The estimation technique employed is a count panel data model. This chapter tests whether, ceteris paribus, tourism flows to New Zealand from countries with bigger stocks of migrants are larger. The gravity model used controls for standard determinants of trade that might be confused with migration, such as the size of the economy or the distance to New Zealand. By applying panel data techniques, unobserved permanent characteristics of countries and global trends that might stimulate both migration and trade are also controlled for.

The next part of the present volume, Part II, deals with the supply side of tourism. The first contribution in this part, written by Martin Rosenfeld and Albrecht Kauffmann, addresses the question how local public investments can be used to steer and support the tourism industry. This chapter presents the results of an empirical study for the East German state of Saxony. Since the 1990s, tourism has been one major area of the economy in Saxony, where new local public infrastructure has been created. The question is whether this newly-built tourism infrastructure has been able to change the path of economic development in those municipalities where the investment has occurred. The question is whether it is possible to activate the tourism industry with the help of public investment at locations that are completely new to the tourism industry. The econometric estimations and a survey of businesses in the field of tourism make it clear that the new tourist infrastructure really has had a positive effect on local employment, but not everywhere and not in every case. Tourist infrastructure will only have a major positive impact on economic development if a municipality already has a “track record” of being a tourist destination and is well-equipped with the relevant complementary factors for tourist activities and the “primary features” of tourist destinations. This indicates that a local tradition in the area of tourism is an important pre-condition for the economic success of new public infrastructure. From a more general point of view, there seems to be quite some path-dependency in local economic development.

A major determinant of modern tourism is related to health motives. This issue is taken up in the present volume by Celeste Eusébio, Maria João Carneiro, Elisabeth Kastenholz and Helena Alvelos. The authors claim that the increasing awareness of the benefits that tourism brings to visitors and to destinations, and of the existence of groups whose disabilities may constrain them from participating in tourism, has contributed to a rise of social tourism programmes worldwide. For a long time, health has been one of the main issues of social concern. Additionally, the increase of life expectancy and population ageing are distinguishing features of modern societies. Taking into consideration that the elderly tend to suffer from several disabilities which may limit their ability to engage in tourism, some related to health problems, the development of social health tourism programmes for this segment is crucial and represents an important market opportunity. The development of these kinds of programmes also results in relevant economic benefits for tourism destinations. This chapter presents a methodology to quantify the total economic benefits – direct, indirect and induced – of a social tourism programme. This methodology was used to quantify the total economic benefits of a Portuguese social tourism programme focused on health tourism for the senior market in 2007. The empirical study shows that this social tourism programme has high multiplier effects, and originates considerable economic impacts for the national economy in terms of output, employment, household income, and value added. The results provide useful inputs for the development of social tourism programmes aiming at maximizing the economic benefits of these programmes.

Another motive for international tourism is the supply of cultural capital. In their contribution, Stella Kostopoulou, Nikolaos Vagionis and Dimitris Kourkouridis address the importance of cultural festivals for regional economic development. Cultural events are increasingly considered to be a cost-effective way to boost local economies of host cities and regions, and have thus become a subject of interest at the academic and public policy level. Research results on the impact of festivals and events underline the fact that important direct and indirect economic benefits are often generated for host communities. One area of research that has not received much attention is the analysis of the perceptions of local key interest groups about the impact of cultural festivals on host communities. And, therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to present an instrument to assess the perceptions of festival organizers, local authorities, and the tourism market about the economic impact of regional cultural festivals on local communities. The aims of the research are to assess if and how festivals act as regional development stimulants that encourage local economic revitalization, and to investigate whether festivals are incorporated into regional economic development policies. To this end, a Delphi method was implemented by means of a research survey with representatives of the key interest groups. The study looks at film festivals that take place on a regular basis in regional towns in Greece, and makes use of primary data obtained by a questionnaire survey addressed to festival organizers, local authorities, and hotel managers about core economic and tourism impacts of film festivals and their significance for host communities.

Next, a study is presented on rural tourist accommodation. The authors, Rafael Suárez-Vega, Laura Casimiro-Reina, Eduardo Acosta-González, and Juan Hernández-Guerra, take their starting point in the fact that the traditional quantitative analysis of spatially-varying relationships assumes that the interdependence among variables measured at different locations is constant over space. This assumption does not fit the data when the analysed variable presents spatial dependence. To tackle this problem, Geographical Weighted Regression (GWR) is considered. The methodology proposed in this chapter combines a genetic algorithm to automatically select the factors that best explain the dependent variable and GWR to determine the local estimations of the coefficient of regressors. A hedonic price model to analyse the rural tourism market on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain) was estimated in the case study. The results show that significant regressors are not homogeneously distributed throughout the island. Instead of a constant value, maps of values of the coefficients were obtained. These maps may be helpful to householders in order to implement local actions based on the rental price of every house, and estimate the economic returns of new rural houses sited in specific areas of the island.

In the final chapter of Part B, Pilar Talón Ballestero and Lydia González Serrano address the important issue of yield management in tourism. The main aim of their study is to assess the position of Yield Revenue Management (YM) and its current state of affairs in the hotel sector in Madrid. To evaluate the status of YM implications, the establishments chosen were three-, four-, and five-star hotels situated in Madrid which were open in 2008. The results of this work allowed the authors to: (a) propose an application model based on the expert opinion accumulated from Delphi, which permitted them to appraise the degree of development of YM in Madrid hotels; (b) analyse the running of YM in Madrid hotels through surveys given to independent and international hotel chains in Madrid; (c) identify the deficiencies, difficulties, and errors encountered; (d) suggest ideas to improve the general level of service.

The last part of this publication, Part III, is related to macro- and sustainability issues. Its first chapter, written by Marcelino Sánchez-Rivero, Juan Ignacio Pulido Fernández and Pablo Cárdenas-García, addresses an important dilemma, viz. tourism growth versus economic development. The authors state that the debate about the role of tourism as an economic development tool is not new, although in recent years, there have been interesting new contributions. Many institutions have highlighted the importance of tourism as an engine of social transformation and a tool for promoting economic development and growth potential. The aim of this study is twofold: on the one hand, to determine the existence of a relationship between the growth of tourism in a country and its level of economic development, and, if so, with which sign; and on the other hand, to identify the factors that favour or hinder this relationship. The empirical analysis was performed at a country scale (117 countries) using canonical correspondence analysis. For the period 1999–2008, 14 variables from different sources (the World Travel & Tourism Council, Human Development Report-UNDP Management, and the Economic Development Group of the World Bank) have been used. The results show that the correlation between tourism growth and economic development only occurred in those countries with a lower level of economic development in the period analysed. Therefore, the tourism growth of a country does not automatically result in economic development, unless specific conditions are favourable for encouraging this process.

It is evident that tourism is determined by gender, wages, and other factors. Raquel Vale Mendes and Laurentina Cruz Vareiro present, therefore, an applied study on the social elements in the tourism sector in Northern Portugal. A significant proportion of jobs in the tourism industry are occupied by women, which is not surprising, given that this industry is characterized by a relatively higher percentage of female employees. Despite the evidence of female progress with regard to their role in the Portuguese labour market, women continue to earn less than their male counterparts. This is clearly the case in the tourism industry, where the statistics reveal a persistent gender wage gap. The objective of this chapter is to provide empirical evidence on the determinants of gender wage inequality in the tourism industry in northern Portugal. Relying on firm-level wage equations and production functions, gender wage and productivity differentials are estimated and then compared. The comparison of these differentials makes it possible to infer whether observed wage disparities are attributable to relatively lower female productivity, or instead to gender wage discrimination. This approach is applied to tourism industry data gathered in the matched employer-employee data set Quadros de Pessoal (Employee Records). The main findings indicate that female employees in the tourism industry in northern Portugal are less productive than their male colleagues, and that gender differences in wages are fully explained by gender differences in productivity.

An increasingly important element in tourism, with far-reaching policy and institutional implications, is the need for sustainable development. This challenge is discussed by João Romão, João Guerreiro and Paulo Rodrigues, who combine theory and empirics to come up with interesting conclusions. In the long run, the competitiveness of tourism destinations is linked to their sustainability. In order to preserve the characteristics that guarantee attractiveness, local natural and cultural aspects must be included in the tourism supply, in order to create a differentiated product. Their chapter systematizes the main theoretical contributions on the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism and analyses how the regions of South-western Europe are incorporating natural endowments and cultural resources into their tourism offer in order to reinforce their attractiveness. This analysis uses a panel-data model to estimate a regional demand function that incorporates new and traditional factors of tourism competitiveness (local, national, and cultural resources). The most important result arising from this study is that the factors of competitiveness related to the sustainability of tourism destinations which were taken into consideration, all have a positive impact on regions’ competitiveness.

It goes without saying that the worldwide financial crisis and economic downturn will have an impact on the tourism industry. In this study, Chin Yi Fang, offers a perspective on this issue from China. In fact, the financial crisis that originated in the US in 2007 and subsequently progressed into a world financial crisis and global economic recession – the Great Recession (see Reinhart and Rogoff 2009) – caused a negative wealth effect which influenced tourism flows to Taiwan, among other destinations worldwide. In addition, however, restrictions on Chinese tourists to Taiwan were also relaxed in July of 2008. This study aims to examine whether the financial crisis or the deregulation of Chinese tourists affected the performance of hotels in Taiwan. A metafrontier approach to data envelopment analysis (MDEA) was used in this paper to estimate the efficiency scores and metatechnology ratios (MTRs) of many international tourism hotels (ITHs) and standard tourism hotels (STHs) in Taiwan during the period ranging from 2005 to 2010. The results indicate that the MTR of ITHs with more service facilities was worse than that of STHs with specialized room revenue during the economic downturn. However, after the Chinese tourists policy deregulation, the MTR of ITH had increasingly outperformed that of STH. A truncated regression with a bootstrap procedure then examines the impact of macroeconomic and microeconomic variables on hotel efficiency and output slacks. In addition to the insignificant effects of the financial crisis on the efficiency of Taiwanese hotels, China/Taiwan tourism policy deregulation has apparently had a favourable influence on hotel efficiency, but mainly benefitted the occupancy rate, and had an unfavourable impact on the room revenue.

The next study addresses environmental management practices in Spain. Using the Partial Least Squares (PLS) technique, the authors, Alfonso Vargas-Sánchez and Francisco José Riquel-Ligero, present an analytical study of the environmental management practices employed by the golf courses of Andalusia (Spain). As the basis for their study, they use the principles of institutional theory. They make use of this theoretical framework to delimit the institutional setting of these organizations, and, at the same time, to define the pressures exerted by this institutional setting towards the adoption of responsible environmental policies. In recent years the growth of golf-related tourism in Andalusia has been accompanied by the construction of numerous golf courses. As a consequence of this phenomenon, there has been a broad-based social debate on the impact of facilities of this type on the natural environment.

Finally, a marketing and distributional perspective on the tourist sector is offered by Vicky Katsoni, Maria Giaoutzi and Peter Nijkamp. Distribution channels are the paths by which tourism organizations can execute the communication and sales of their products and services. To varying degrees, all tourism product suppliers depend on these channels for the distribution of their products. Tourism destination organizations and individual businesses often find themselves making decisions concerning the development and distribution of their products, without having a full understanding of how the channel operators perceive and react to these strategic actions. If the proper distribution channels are developed, they can go a long way towards determining the patterns of destination use, penetrating target markets, and creating an economic impact, as it is important to have an awareness of, and access to, effective distribution intermediaries. The specific objectives of this study were to compare the importance that international and domestic tourists attribute to various forms of information, both at tourism destinations and in the pre-trip context, and to carry out an analysis of their information-sourcing behaviour, based on internal and external information sources, including the use of the Internet. Research in the province of Arcadia (Greece), in the form of a longitudinal study, offers an appreciation of not only what channels of distribution might best match the needs of a particular tourism destination, but also what product development and marketing actions would help the channel operators to draw visitors to it.

It is evident that the dynamics in the tourist industry and its worldwide effects will continue to attract the attention of both the research and the policy sector in the years to come. Rather than speculating on non-observed facts, there is a clear need for evidence-based research in order to map out the complex dynamics of the tourist industry.


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  2. Mathieson A, Wall G (1982) Tourism: economic, physical and social impacts. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Reinhart C, Rogoff K (2009) This time is different: eight centuries of financial folly. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Álvaro Matias
    • 1
  • Peter Nijkamp
    • 2
  • Manuela Sarmento
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Lusíada de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Spatial EconomicsVU UniversityHV AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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