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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020371

Threshold Effect of Tourism Development on Economic Growth Following a Disaster Shock: Evidence from the Wenchuan Earthquake, P.R. China

1,2
and
2,*
1
Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610207, China
2
Tourism School, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing for Sustainable Tourism)
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Abstract

To examine whether tourism can effectively stimulate economic growth following a disaster shock, we apply a panel threshold regression technique to test the threshold effect of tourism development on economic growth of the 36 Wenchuan earthquake-affected counties in 2008–2016. The empirical results using the panel fixed-effects model show that tourism significantly contributes to economic growth, supporting the validity of the tourism-led growth hypothesis (TLGH) for the disaster-affected destinations. The results of the panel threshold regression model also indicate a threshold effect of tourism development on economic growth, implying that counties with different conditions of tourism specialization and industrial structure experience different impacts on the tourism-growth nexus. Specifically, the estimated coefficients of tourism on economic growth decrease with the levels of tourism specialization and industrial structure exceeding the threshold value. Based on the Tourism Area Life Cycle theory (TALC), we further divide the 36 disaster-stricken counties into six types based on the evolution of tourism specialization: Exploration-stage type, involvement-stage type, transition-stage type, development-stage type, consolidation-stage type, and stagnation-stage type. The empirical findings and managerial implications discussed are generally applicable to policymakers seeking new ways to invigorate the economy in other disaster-affected destinations. View Full-Text
Keywords: tourism development; economic growth; panel threshold regression model; disaster-stricken counties; Wenchuan earthquake; Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle tourism development; economic growth; panel threshold regression model; disaster-stricken counties; Wenchuan earthquake; Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Zhang, J.; Cheng, L. Threshold Effect of Tourism Development on Economic Growth Following a Disaster Shock: Evidence from the Wenchuan Earthquake, P.R. China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 371.

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