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Does Unesco inscription affect the performance of tourism destinations? A regional perspective


  • Tiziana Cuccia

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Impresa, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy)

  • Calogero Guccio

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Impresa, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy)

  • Ilde Rizzo

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Impresa, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy)


This paper analyses the role of tourism in the enhancement of local development focusing on the role of UNESCO World Heritage List (WHL) as attractor of tourism demand. It aims at evaluating the performance of the Italian regions as tourism destinations in the period 1995-2010, using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) two-stage approach. In the first stage the efficiency scores are calculated using a smoothed DEA bootstrap procedure to generate unbiased technical efficiency estimates. In the second stage a robust semi-parametric regression is employed to assess the impact of the WHL inscription on the efficiency of tourism destinations in the short and in the long term. The empirical results show that, controlling for several environmental factors, the presence of UNESCO sites is negatively correlated to the technical efficiency of tourist destinations. Our explanation for such a result is that WHL inscription raises expectations which are not met by an equivalent increase of tourism flows: this has to be taken in account by policy-makers in the design of the local strategies to promote tourist destinations and therefore to foster local development.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cue:wpaper:awp-04-2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. S. Capacci & A. E. Scorcu & L. Vici, 2014. "Eco labels and tourism flows: How much is a Blue Flag worth?," Working Papers wp917, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Gianluca Cafiso & Roberto Cellini & Tiziana Cuccia, 2015. "Do Economic Crises Lead Tourists to Closer Destinations? An Analysis of Italy's Regional Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 5250, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Cultural Heritage; Tourism; Non-parametric methods;

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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