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Exploring the effects of international tourism on China's economic growth, energy consumption and environmental pollution: Evidence from a regional panel analysis


  • Zhang, Lei
  • Gao, Jing


This study explores the effects of international tourism on China's economic growth, energy consumption, and environmental pollution as proxied by CO2 emissions in a multivariate framework using regional panel data over the period 1995–2011. Our findings suggest that the tourism-induced EKC hypothesis does not exist in central China and is merely weakly supported in eastern and western China. However, results show that tourism has a negative impact on CO2 emissions in the eastern region, which contradicts with our perception to some extent. Panel causality tests show that the directions of causality in both short and long runs are mixed among regions. Nevertheless, our findings reveal that tourism causally affects economic growth and CO2 emissions in the long run, thus tourism led growth hypothesis is verified under all three scenarios. Our findings also suggest that in all three regions there is bidirectional causality between economic growth and CO2 emissions. Overall these results imply that low-carbon tourism in China should be continuously supported which provides significant insights to policy makers at various government levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Lei & Gao, Jing, 2016. "Exploring the effects of international tourism on China's economic growth, energy consumption and environmental pollution: Evidence from a regional panel analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 225-234.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:53:y:2016:i:c:p:225-234
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.040

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    Cited by:

    1. Asif Khan & Sughra Bibi & Lorenzo Ardito & Jiaying Lyu & Hizar Hayat & Anas Mahmud Arif, 2020. "Revisiting the Dynamics of Tourism, Economic Growth, and Environmental Pollutants in the Emerging Economies—Sustainable Tourism Policy Implications," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(6), pages 1-23, March.
    2. Hanif, Imran & Faraz Raza, Syed Muhammad & Gago-de-Santos, Pilar & Abbas, Qaiser, 2019. "Fossil fuels, foreign direct investment, and economic growth have triggered CO2 emissions in emerging Asian economies: Some empirical evidence," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 493-501.
    3. Hanif, Imran, 2017. "Economics-energy-environment nexus in Latin America and the Caribbean," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 170-178.
    4. Fátima Calderón-Vargas & David Asmat-Campos & Anselmo Carretero-Gómez, 2019. "Sustainable Tourism and Renewable Energy: Binomial for Local Development in Cocachimba, Amazonas, Peru," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(18), pages 1-21, September.
    5. Daxin Dong & Xiaowei Xu & Yat Fung Wong, 2019. "Estimating the Impact of Air Pollution on Inbound Tourism in China: An Analysis Based on Regression Discontinuity Design," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(6), pages 1-18, March.
    6. Jennifer C. H. MIN & Hsien-Hung KUNG & Tsangyao CHANG, 2019. "Testing the Structural Break of Taiwan Inbound Tourism Markets," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(2), pages 117-130, June.
    7. Zhang, Shun & Liu, Xuyi, 2019. "The roles of international tourism and renewable energy in environment: New evidence from Asian countries," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 385-394.
    8. Boyang Xu & Daxin Dong, 2020. "Evaluating the Impact of Air Pollution on China’s Inbound Tourism: A Gravity Model Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(4), pages 1-21, February.
    9. Rashid Khan, Haroon Ur & Siddique, Muhammad & Zaman, Khalid & Yousaf, Sheikh Usman & Shoukry, Alaa Mohamd & Gani, Showkat & Sasmoko, & Khan, Aqeel & Hishan, Sanil S. & Saleem, Hummera, 2018. "The impact of air transportation, railways transportation, and port container traffic on energy demand, customs duty, and economic growth: Evidence from a panel of low-, middle-, and high -income coun," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 18-35.
    10. Sharif, Arshian & Saha, Shrabani & Campbell, Neil & Sinha, Avik & Ibrahiem, Dalia M., 2020. "Tourism, Environment and Energy: An Analysis for China," MPRA Paper 99985, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Azam, Muhammad & Alam, Md. Mahmudul & Hafeez, Muhammad Haroon, 2019. "Tourism and environmental quality nexus: Further evidence from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand," SocArXiv 6ze5m, Center for Open Science.
    12. Dogan, Eyup & Aslan, Alper, 2017. "Exploring the relationship among CO2 emissions, real GDP, energy consumption and tourism in the EU and candidate countries: Evidence from panel models robust to heterogeneity and cross-sectional depen," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 239-245.
    13. Hanif, Imran & Aziz, Babar & Chaudhry, Imran Sharif, 2019. "Carbon emissions across the spectrum of renewable and nonrenewable energy use in developing economies of Asia," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 586-595.
    14. Abbas Ali Chandio & Yuansheng Jiang & Abdul Rauf & Amir Ali Mirani & Rashid Usman Shar & Fayyaz Ahmad & Khurram Shehzad, 2019. "Does Energy-Growth and Environment Quality Matter for Agriculture Sector in Pakistan or not? An Application of Cointegration Approach," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(10), pages 1-17, May.

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    Tourism; Energy consumption; Economic growth; CO2 emissions;

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