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Eco labels and tourism flows: How much is a Blue Flag worth?

  • S. Capacci
  • A. E. Scorcu
  • L. Vici

The rise in destination accessibility and the emergence of new market segments have increased the competition among tourism destinations, both at national and international level. In order to gain a significant competitive advantage over competitors, destinations increasingly make use of signals that certify and communicate the level of quality provided. While existing research on tourism certifications mostly pertains to quality evaluation, this study exploits quantitative methods to assess the economic impact of destinations’ labels. The analysis considers one of the most popular certification of environmental quality attributed to beaches, the Blue Flag award. It explores the relationship between the certification achievement and inbound tourist flows, focusing on the Italian case study. In fact, given their aim of providing synthetized information on destinations, certification programs particularly affect foreign tourists who suffer more from asymmetric information. Panel data techniques and highly disaggregated data are employed to compare the attractiveness of certified and non-certified provinces, by controlling for several factors potentially confounding the effect of the certification.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp917.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp917
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  1. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  2. Blackman, Allen & Naranjo, María Angélica & Robalino, Juan & Alpízar, Francisco & Rivera, Jorge, 2014. "Does Tourism Eco-Certification Pay? Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 41-52.
  3. John M. Piotrowski & Rabah Arezki & Reda Cherif, 2009. "Tourism Specialization and Economic Development+L4183; Evidence from the UNESCO World Heritage List," IMF Working Papers 09/176, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Cellini, Roberto & Torrisi, Gianpiero, 2009. "The regional public spending for tourism in Italy: an empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 16917, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Arezki, Rabah & Cherif, Reda & Piotrowski, John, 2009. "Tourism Specialization and Economic Development: Evidence from the UNESCO World Heritage List," MPRA Paper 17132, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  7. Tiziana Cuccia & Calogero Guccio & Ilde Rizzo, 2013. "Does Unesco inscription affect the performance of tourism destinations? A regional perspective," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-04-2013, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Oct 2013.
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