Do Regional Trade Agreements Enhance International Tourism Flows? Evidence from a Cross-Country Analysis

Usman Khalid, Luke Emeka Okafor, Katarzyna Burzynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigates the effect of regional trade agreements (RTAs)—including preferential and free trade agreements, customs unions, and common markets—on bilateral tourism flows. We explore these effects using a panel gravity data set of 163 destination countries, 171 source countries, and 13,589 country-pairs from 1995 to 2015. This is the first large cross-country study to undertake such an integrated analysis using the gravity framework. Results show that all types of RTAs have a positive and significant effect on bilateral tourism flows. The overall indicator of RTAs that captures the combined effect of all types of RTAs on bilateral tourism flows is also positive and significant, on average, as well as when different regions are separately evaluated. These findings underscore the importance of strong economic integration in fostering international tourism flows. Policies aimed at improving a country’s economic integration with other countries can help promote international tourism flows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1408
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Volume61
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bilateral tourism flows
  • customs unions
  • free trade agreements
  • gravity model
  • regional trade agreement (RTA)
  • single market

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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