A meta-analytic comparison of regional output multipliers at different spatial levels: Economic impacts of tourism

E.S. van Leeuwen, P. Nijkamp, P. Rietveld

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


On a local (town) scale, tourism is more and more being regarded as a possible instrument to change the future. With decreasing employment in agriculture, tourism is often seen as a new activity in the rural economy, generating employment and income and at the same time embracing local tradition and (landscape) qualities. Over the last decades, tourism has become a major activity in our society and an increasingly important sector in terms of economic development (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp 2006). Higher incomes and a greater amount of leisure time, together with improved transport systems have resulted in a growing flow of tourists, travelling more frequently and over longer distances. According to Pearce (1981), the socio-economic effects of tourism are very diverse. When focusing on small and medium-sized towns, important effects are regional development, diversification of the economy and employment opportunities. Because tourism also addresses more rural and peripheral areas, it allows the spread of economic activities more evenly over a region. In the peripheral areas, tourism can be helpful in improving the multifunctionality of the local area, leading to more robust economic development. Finally, as tourism is a rather labour-intensive sector, also requiring unskilled labour, it can be a good employment opportunity for small and mediumsized towns. This has recently prompted much policy and research interest in the benefits of tourism for regional income and employment. Policy makers in the government need to know the magnitude of the impact of international and domestic tourist expenditures on the economy in order to make decisions about budget allocations for the development of tourist facilities (Freeman and Sultan 1999). But there is a great deal of variation, and the question emerges whether such variations can be ascribed to systematic factors. Therefore, in this chapter we will perform a meta-analysis on tourism multipliers. As multiplier values reflect the size of the multiplier effect, with respect to a specific feature of the economy such as income or employment, these values can help policy makers to learn something about the magnitude of tourist expenditures. Within a meta-analysis the empirical outcomes of studies with similar research questions are analysed (Baaijens et al. 1997). The research question we want to answer in this paper is: Which characteristics of the tourism sector, the research area, or the type of publication in which a study appeared can explain variations in the size of the tourism multiplier? Therefore, first, in Sect. 2.2, we elaborate on the meta-analytic approach. Then, in Sect. 2.3, we will briefly describe the input-output model and its multipliers. In Sect. 2.4, we explain the order of magnitude of the multipliers, followed by an initial analysis of the empirical data. After this, in Sect. 2.5, we perform a linear regression on our available data. Another meta-analytical method, viz. Rough set analysis, will be applied in Sect. 2.6. We then use the obtained insights to develop and reflect upon tourism multipliers for six Dutch towns in Sect. 2.7. Finally, in Sect. 2.8, some research conclusions will be drawn. © Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in modern tourism research, voll II
EditorsA. Matias, M. Sarmento, P. Nijkamp
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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