Movements of People for Movements of Goods?
While it is well established to think of international tourism as a type of exports, namely ‘home’ exports, the potential of tourism flows as an engine for fostering trade among countries is a poorly studied topic. In this paper we show that this relationship can be studied at a very detailed level by exploiting the disaggregation of existing information on international trade and inbound tourism. We consider a sample of 25 countries belonging to the European Union, a region which has been interested by common shocks such as the establishment of the Euro as the new currency for many countries and the liberalization in the air transport market. We carry out a panel data analysis by means of which we assess whether international tourist arrivals by a given country activate additional exports towards the same country. We find not only that tourism can promote exports, but also that this effect displays important differences depending on whether or not consumption goods are considered. This finding is consistent with the idea that the experience of tourists in a given destination reduces the fixed costs of trade, thus facilitating access to the advantages of international trade for more peripheral economies.
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