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International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism

Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth

This highly accessible and comprehensive Handbook presents a cutting edge discussion of the state of tourism economics and its likely directions in future research. Leading researchers in the field explore a wide range of topics including: demand and forecasting, supply, transport, taxation and infrastructure, evaluation and application for policy-making. Each chapter includes a discussion of its relevance and importance to the tourism economics literature, an overview of its main contributions and themes, a critical evaluation of existing literature and an outline of issues for further conceptual and applied research.
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Chapter 20: Tourism Destination Specialisation

Mondher Sahli


Mondher Sahli Introduction Tourism and travel-related services are among the most important tradable sectors. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts that they will account for 10.3 per cent of world GDP, employ about 234.3 million people worldwide and generate 11.8 per cent of total world export receipts of goods and services in 2006 (WWTC 2006). Furthermore, given that there are now more than 750 million international travellers per year, tourism and travel-related sectors have become dynamic sources of income and a major strategic sector for development in many countries, especially in the global South. OECD countries still dominate international tourism. The main areas remain Europe and the US, with some new influx from East Asia and the Pacific. Almost half of international tourists come from six OECD countries which are also among the world’s top ten tourism earners/spenders. Some of these destinations appear to be coping with increased competition quite well, whereas others are struggling. In many cases it is the world’s traditional destinations which have awakened to the reality that their tourism market share is declining. In certain cases this situation has been cushioned by the fact that international tourism is still growing strongly (Crouch and Ritchie 1999). This chapter examines the concepts of external competitiveness and comparative advantage in terms of its application to tourism destinations. It shows how we arrived at our particular definitions of these concepts and why we believe that they are important in understanding the competitiveness and performance of a...

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