Tourism is an important sustainable industry in the economy that optimizes the industrial structure. Thus, as a core part of this market, tourism enterprises perform a key role in the effective operation of this industry. This paper applies data envelopment analysis (DEA) and Malmquist index (MI) models to calculate the efficiency of Chinese tourism enterprises between 2005 and 2014. Results showed that: (1) The efficiency and the total factor productivity change index (TFPC) of tourism enterprises remained low, and both have decreased. (2) The efficiency of regional tourism enterprises across China cloud be characterized as high in the east region, low in the central region, and high in both northeast and western regions. (3) The efficiency levels of the cities of Beijing and Shanghai were ahead of the country over the period of this study, while Chongqing, Tibet, Qinghai, and Ningxia all possess a number of obvious advantages in the western region. (4) Centers of overall tourism enterprise efficiency mainly moved in a southeast-to-northwest direction over the period of this research. (5) The spatial autocorrelation of tourism enterprise efficiencies is also assessed in this study, and the results show that the comprehensive efficiency (CE) of tourism enterprises in southeastern coastal regions of China tended to a certain spatial agglomeration effect, while the correlation between the central region and northern China was not significant. (6) The Geodetector model is applied to analyze the key factors driving the spatial differentiation of tourism enterprise efficiencies, and the results show that the degree of opening to the outside world, potential human capital, and traffic conditions were the most important factors driving spatial differentiation in the efficiency of tourism enterprises.
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