The sources of comparative advantage in tourism

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2010
 
Publication date: 2010
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Bureau for Economic Research, University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

Tourism flows are usually explained through demand-side factors such as income growth in developed economies and changes in the preferences of visitors. While these models are adequate for short-term forecasts, little theoretical justification is provided to explain why certain countries perform better than others. This paper identifies which countries have a comparative advantage in the export of travel services (tourism). Consequently, the paper seeks to identify the sources of this comparative advantage. We include the standard explanatory variables (factors of production, including natural environment) for Ricardian comparative advantage, plus measures of infrastructure, health, safety and security, tourism prioritization, and various dummy variables. We also develop and test new variables, including a neighbourhood variable, which measures the benefits obtained from regional tourism clusters. Our results have important policy implications; it is clear that the natural environment has a large positive and significant impact on a country’s revealed comparative advantage, as do transport endowments (a measure of relative accessibility) and the neighbourhood variable. These findings correspond to the predictions of the neoclassical trade theories (namely Heckscher-Ohlin) and to some extent the new trade theories (Krugman).

 
JEL Classification:

F11

Keywords:

tourism, comparative advantage, trade in services

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1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

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