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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 3 / 2010 (544)

Does Trade Help to Explain Tourism Demand? The Case of Portugal

Nuno Carlos LEITÃO
Polytechnic Institute of Santarém, ESGTS, Portugal

Abstract. The tourism industry has expanded in recent years due to internal and external environmental forces. These forces, income, trade, consumer price, and geographical distance are interconnected. Accounting for imperfect competition and increasing returns to scale, the new trade theory offers the explanation of dynamic gains from international trade. A large number of studies attempt to test the hypothesis that there is a link between trade and tourism. Most of the studies show that trade and tourism are positively correlated. This paper specifies static and dynamic panel demand models for tourism in Portugal and estimates demand equations using tourist inflow data for the period 1995-2006. We find that bilateral trade, immigration, border, and geographical distance between Portugal and countries of origin are the main determinants of tourism to Portugal. The dynamic panel data approach indicates that trade, population, and income are more important determinants than relative price.

Keywords: trade; tourism demand; panel data; tourism forecasting; qualitative methods; Portugal.

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