Tourism is a global force for economic and regional development. Tourism development brings with it a mix of benefits and costs and the growing field of tourism economics is making an important contribution to tourism policy, planning and business practices. Various perspectives and methods undertaken by the STCRC and elsewhere have advanced the global understanding of tourism’s contributions to destinations, resource use, evaluations and business practices.Read more
Tourism is a global force for economic and regional development. Tourism development brings with it a mix of benefits and costs and the growing field of tourism economics is making an important contribution to tourism policy, planning and business practices. Various perspectives and methods undertaken by the STCRC and elsewhere have advanced the global understanding of tourism’s contributions to destinations, resource use, evaluations and business practices.
Because tourism is not an industry in the strict sense of the word (rather a composition of inputs from various contributing ‘characteristic’ and ‘associated’ industries) the measurement of tourism production and consumption needs to be measured via tourism satellite accounts (TSAs). STCRC has produced numerous TSA accounts at national and state levels, and can report trends over time.
TSA measure the size or economic contribution of the tourism industry, in terms of such variables as output, value added, and employment. Often they form the basic understanding for destination management and investment.
TSA can be used to:
- develop performance indicators such as measures of productivity, prices and profitability for the tourism industry as a whole. They can also be used to explore performance in individual sectors.
- Estimate taxation from tourism by type of tax and level of government in receipt of the revenue.
- distinguish the numbers and expenditure of different tourist markets by origin the yield contribution measures can be developed per tourist by origin market where adding environmental and social dimensions to the yield concept, highlights the trade-offs between economic and environmental and social dimensions.
- provide the opportunity for tourism economists to contribute to our understanding of the ‘carbon footprint’ associated with the tourism industry.
Tourism economics also adds important measures in the valuations of environmental resources: such as water and parks visitation.
STCRC has been at the forefront globally of emphasising that economy wide effects must be taken into account in determining the impacts of increased tourism expenditure on a destination via the use of computable general equilibrium (CGE) models in place of input-output (I-O) models as used in TSAs. This innovation has witness a ‘paradigm shift’ in tourism economics. Simply put an expanding tourism industry tends to ‘crowd out’ other sectors of economic activity. The extent of these ‘crowding out’ effects depends, in turn, on factor constraints, changes in the exchange rate, the workings of labour markets and the macroeconomic policy context. CGE models are helpful to tourism policy makers who seek to use them to provide guidance about a wide variety of ‘what if?’ questions, arising from a wide range of domestic or international expenditure shocks or alternative policy scenarios.
The STCRC has been a world leader in respect of using CGE models to estimate the economic impacts of tourism shocks. Studies undertaken include
- the economic impacts on state economies of increased inbound tourism;
- the economic impacts of SARS on Australian tourism;
- the economic impacts of a special event;
- yield measures of different inbound markets that take into account industry interactive effects; and
- economic impacts of taxes on aviation.
For an overview of the STCRC's econmic research see Tourism Economics Summary.