Revisiting the tourism-led economic growth hypothesis: The case of China
Sage Publications, Inc.
School of Business and Law
This article examines the relationship between the level of tourism specialization (TS) and economic growth using a panel dataset covering 31 provinces in mainland China from 1995 to 2013. A quadratic function was introduced following the basic economic law of returns to overcome the weaknesses of constant returns to scale associated with the tourism-led economic growth hypothesis (TLGH). Using tourist arrivals as a percentage of host population (TA) and tourism receipts as a share of real GDP (TR) as the indicators of TS which represent respectively the level/size and the quality/structure dimension of TS, the system generalized method of moments (SYSGMM) regression results suggest that a meaningful inverted-U- or an N-shaped relationship exists between tourism specialization and economic growth. Based on the portfolio of TA and TR in destinations, the effects and characters of tourism on economic growth are discussed regarding the future direction of regional development.