Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Measuring the economic contribution of tourism to destinations within an input-output framework: some methodological issues


The input-output model is a traditional tool employed in the literature for measuring the contribution of an economic activity within a given territory. In the case of tourism, this methodological framework has been used to estimate the contribution of the tourism sector as a whole, and for specific products in the tourism market, such as cruise visits. The present paper computes the economic contribution of international tourism arriving at three major destinations on the Mediterranean coast of Spain; namely, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante. For each destination, both the country-level and regional-based input-output tables were employed, using the INTERTIO project, a regional input-output framework developed for the Spanish economy by the Lawrence Klein Institute of the Autonomous University of Madrid. The results show important differences in the magnitude of the computed economic effects between the country and regional approaches. To shed more light on the issue, we identify the main sources driving such dissimilar results, including the role of backward linkages of industries and the differing sectoral distributions of initial economic effects. Finally, we point to the role played by specific sectors in the model in amplifying the initial effects by using a centrality analysis of hub-and-authority effects. The methodological discussion in the paper helps to highlight the need for using the regional input-output model when available, and the other additional methodological tools we provide throughout the study for more accurately computing the economic impact of tourism for particular regions or destinations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    In short, the spectral radius of the matrix A must be less than unity.

  2. 2.

    Note that for the production of an additional unit of output, sector j has to buy a1j units of intermediate output from sector 1, a2j units of intermediate output from sector 2, and so on. Therefore, we measure the magnitude of ties between sector j, and the rest of the sectors in the system (including itself) is better characterized by the intensity of usage of output of sector i by sector j (the technical coefficients a1j, a2j, …) than by the absolute value of the intermediate output that each sector supplies to sector j collected in the input-output table (the terms x1j, x2j, …).

  3. 3.

    The definition of hub and authority centrality can be written in matrix form as

    $$ {\displaystyle \begin{array}{c}\boldsymbol{\upeta} =\alpha \mathbf{A}\boldsymbol{\upupsilon }, \\ {}\boldsymbol{\upupsilon} =\beta {\mathbf{A}}^{\mathrm{T}}\boldsymbol{\upeta} .\end{array}} $$

    After a little algebra, it can be shown that the vectors of hub and authority scores, η and υ, coincide with the principal eigenvectors of the symmetric positive definite matrices ATA and AAT, respectively (Newman 2010).

  4. 4.

    The GDP deflators are shown in the Appendix (Table A.1).

  5. 5.

    From equation (3), the total effect on output (Δx) of a change in the final demand (Δy) can be expressed as Δx = BΔy.

  6. 6.

    The values are normalized for the interval [0,1].


  1. Archer B, Fletcher J (1996) The economic impact of tourism in the Seychelles. Ann Tourism Res 23(1):32–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(95)00041-0

  2. Artal-Tur A, Navarro-Azorín JM, Ramos-Parreño JM (2019) Estimating the impact of cruise tourism through regional input–output tables. Anatolia 30(2):235–245. https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2018.1519209

  3. Atan S, Arslanturk Y (2012) Tourism and economic growth nexus: an input output analysis in Turkey. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 62:952–995. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.162

  4. Banerjee O, Cicowiez M, Moreda A (2017) Reconciliation once and for all: economic impact evaluation and social cost-benefit analysis. IDB working paper series, no. IDB-WP-835, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Washington, DC. doi: 10.18235/0000823

  5. Baster J (1980) Input-output analysis of tourism benefits: lessons from Scotland. Int J Tourism Manag 1(2):99–108. https://doi.org/10.1016/0143-2516(80)90032-8

  6. Bess, R. and Ambargis, Z. O. (2011). Input-output models for impact analysis: suggestions for practitioners using RIMS II multipliers," BEA working papers 0081, Bureau of Economic Analysis

  7. Blake, A., Durbarry, R., Sinclair, T. and Sugiyarto, G. (2001). Modelling tourism and travel using tourism satellite accounts and tourism policy and forecasting models. Tourism and travel research institute discussion paper 2001/4

  8. Cai J, Leung P, Mak J (2006) Tourism’s forward and backward linkages. J Travel Res 45(1):36–52. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287506288869

  9. Campón-Cerro AM, Hernández-Mogollón JM, Folgado-Fernández JA (eds) (2019) Best practices in hospitality and tourism marketing and management. A Quality of Life Perspective. Springer, Heidelberg

  10. Chang YT, Park H, Liu SM, Roh Y (2016) Economic impact of cruise industry using regional input–output analysis: a case study of Incheon. Mar Pol & Manag 43(1):1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/03088839.2015.1086837

  11. Cooper MJ, Pigram JJ (1984) Tourism and the Australian economy. Tourism Manag 5(1):2–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/0261-5177(84)90002-5

  12. Croes RR, Severt DE (2007) Research report: evaluating short-term tourism economic effects in confined economies – conceptual and empirical considerations. Tourism Econ 13(2):289–307. https://doi.org/10.5367/000000007780823140

  13. Crompton JL (1995) Economic impact of sports facilities and events: eleven sources of misapplication. J Sport Manag 9:14–35. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.9.1.14

  14. De Santana RLC, Vieira Da Silva EO, De Lima AJR, De Souza KB (2017) Tourism and regional development in the Brazilian northeast. Tourism Econ 23(3):717–727. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354816616652752

  15. Dwyer L (2015) Computable general equilibrium modelling: an important tool for tourism policy analysis. Tourism and hospitality Manag 21(2):111–126. https://doi.org/10.20867/thm.21.2.1

  16. Dwyer L, Forsyth P, Spurr R (2003) Assessing the economic impacts of events: a computable general equilibrium approach. J Travel Res 45:59–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287506288907

  17. Dwyer L, Forsyth P, Spurr R (2004) Evaluating tourism’s economic effects: new and old approaches. Tourism Manag 25:307–317. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0261-5177(03)00131-6

  18. Dwyer L, Forsyth P, Spurr R (2016) Tourism economics and policy analysis: contributions and legacy of the sustainable tourism cooperative research Centre. J Hosp Tourism Manag 26:91–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhtm.2016.01.003

  19. Dwyer L, Forsyth P, Madden J, Spurr R (2000) Economic impacts of inbound tourism under different assumptions regarding the macroeconomy. Curr Iss Tourism 3(4):325–363. https://doi.org/10.1080/13683500008667877

  20. Eriksen L, Ahmt T (1999) Measuring and modelling the regional impact of tourism in Denmark. Int J Tourism Res 1(5):313–327

  21. Faturay F, Lenzen M, Nugraha K (2017) A new subnational multi-region input–output database for Indonesia. Econ Sys Res. https://doi.org/10.1080/09535314.2017.1304361

  22. Felsenstein D, Schamp EV, Sachar A (eds) (2002) Emerging nodes in the global economy, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv compared. Springer Science + Business Media B.V, Dordrecht

  23. Fletcher JE (1989) Input-output analysis and tourism impact studies. Ann Tourism Res 16(4):514–529. https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(89)90006-6

  24. Fletcher JE, Archer BH (1991) The development and application of multiplier analysis. In: Cooper CP (ed) Progress in tourism, recreation and hospitality management, vol 3. Belhaven, London, pp 28–47

  25. Heng TM, Low L (1990) Economic impact of tourism in Singapore. Ann tourism res 17(2):246–269. https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(90)90086-7

  26. Henry EW, Deane B (1997) The contribution of tourism to the economy of Ireland in 1990 and 1995. Tourism Manag 18(8):535–553. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0261-5177(97)00083-6

  27. Horváth E, Frechtling DC (1999) Estimating the multiplier effects of tourism expenditures on a local economy through a regional input-output model. J Travel Res 37(4):324–332. https://doi.org/10.1177/004728759903700402

  28. Jago L, Dwyer L (2006) Economic evaluation of special events: a practitioner’s guide. Common Ground, Victoria

  29. Jones C, Munday M (2004) Evaluating the economic benefits from tourism spending through input-output frameworks: issues and cases. Local Econ 19(2):117–133. https://doi.org/10.1080/0269094042000203063

  30. Kasimati E (2003) Economic aspects and the summer Olympics: a review of related research. Int J Tourism Res 5:433–444. https://doi.org/10.1002/jtr.449

  31. Khanal BR, Ga C, Becken S (2014) Tourism inter-industry linkages in the Lao PDR economy: an input–output analysis. Tourism Econ 20(1):171–194. https://doi.org/10.5367/te.2013.0255

  32. Kleinberg J (1999) Authoritative sources in a hyperlinked environment. J of the ACM 46:604–632.

  33. Klijs J, Heijman W, Maris DK, Bryon J (2012) Criteria for comparing economic impact models of tourism. Tourism Econ 18(6):1175–1202. https://doi.org/10.5367/te.2012.0172

  34. Klijs J, Peerlings J, Heijman W (2015) Usefulness of non-linear input–output models for economic impact analyses in tourism and recreation. Tourism Econ 21(5):931–956. https://doi.org/10.5367/te.2014.0398

  35. Kronenberg K, Fuchs M, Lexhagen M (2018) A multi-period perspective on tourism’s economic contribution – a regional input-output analysis for Sweden. Tourism Rev 73(1):94–110. https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-03-2017-0044

  36. Kumar J, Hussain K (2014) Evaluating tourism’s economic effects: comparison of different approaches. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 144:360–365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.305

  37. Lohmann G, Pearce DG (2010) Conceptualizing and operationalizing nodal tourism functions. J Transp Geogr 18(2):266–275. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2009.05.003

  38. Manente M (1999) Regional and inter-regional economic impacts of tourism consumption: methodology and the case of Italy. Tourism Econ 5(4):425–436. https://doi.org/10.1177/135481669900500408

  39. Mescon TS, Vozikis GS (1985) The economic impact of tourism at the port of Miami. Ann Tourism Res 12(4):515–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(85)90075-1

  40. Miller RE, Blair PD (2009) Input-output analysis: foundations and extensions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  41. Munjal P (2014) Measuring the economic impact of the tourism industry in India using the tourism satellite account and input-output analysis. Tourism Econ 19(6):1345–1359. https://doi.org/10.5367/te.2013.0239

  42. Murillo J, Vayà E, Romaní J, Suriñach J (2013) How important to a city are tourists and day-trippers? The economic impact of tourism on the city of Barcelona. Tourism Econ 19(4):897–917. https://doi.org/10.5367/te.2013.0225

  43. Newman MEJ (2010) Networks − an introduction. Oxford University Press

  44. O’Hagan J, Mooney D (1983) Input-output multipliers in a small open economy: an application to tourism. Econ Soc Rev (Irel) 14(4):273–280

  45. Pérez-García J, Llano-Verduras C, García-López G (2009) Valoración de las tablas 'input-output' interregionales de la economía española. ICE-Rev Econ 848:37–66

  46. Pérez J, Dones M, Llano C (2009) An interregional impact analysis of the EU structural funds in Spain (1995-1999). Pap Reg Sci 88(3):509–529. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1435-5957.2008.00212.x

  47. Polo C, Valle E (2008) An assessment of the impact of tourism in the Balearic Islands. Tourism Econ 14(3):615–630. https://doi.org/10.5367/000000008785633604

  48. Polo C, Valle E (2011) The weight of tourism in the Balearic Islands: 1983-1997-2004. Estudios de Economía Aplicada 29(3):737–754

  49. Polo C, Valle E (2012) Input-output and SAM models. In: Dwyer G, Gill A, Seetaram N (eds) Handbook of research methods in tourism: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Edward Elgar, Cheltentham, pp 227–260

  50. Pratt S (2015a) The economic impact of tourism in SIDS. Ann Tourism Res 52:148–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2015.03.005

  51. Pratt S (2015b) Potential economic contribution of regional tourism development in China: a comparative analysis. Int J Tourism Res 17:303–312. https://doi.org/10.1002/jtr.1990

  52. Ruiz AL (1985) Tourism and the economy of Puerto Rico: an input-output approach. Tourism Manag 6(1):61–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/0261-5177(85)90057-3

  53. Song H, Dwyer L, Li G, Cao Z (2012) Tourism economics research: a review and assessment. Ann Tourism Res 39(3):1653–1682. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2012.05.023

  54. UN-Habitat (2011) The economic role of cities. The global urban economic dialogue series. United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Nairobi

  55. UNWTO (2019) Tourism highlights 2019. UNWTO, Madrid

  56. Van Leeuwen ES, Nijkamp P, Rietveld P (2009) A meta-analytic comparison of regional output multipliers at different spatial levels: economic impacts of tourism. In: Matias Á, Nijkamp P, Sarmento M (eds) Advances in tourism economics. Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 13–33

  57. Var T, Quayson J (1985) The multiplier impact of tourism in the Okanagan. Ann Tourism Res 12(4):497–514. https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-7383(85)90074-X

  58. West G, Gamage A (2001) Macro effects of tourism in Victoria, Australia: a nonlinear input-output approach. J Travel Res 40(1):101–109. https://doi.org/10.1177/004728750104000113

  59. Yang Y, Timothy FJ, Altschuler B (2018) Explaining regional economic multipliers of tourism: does cross-regional heterogeneity exist? Asia Pac J Tour Res 23(1):15–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/10941665.2017.1394335

Download references


Prof. Andres Artal-Tur wants to thank the financial support received from Groups of Excellence Program of Fundación Séneca, Science and Technology Agency of the Region of Murcia, project 19884/GERM/15.

Author information

Correspondence to Andrés Artal-Tur.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Artal-Tur, A., Navarro-Azorín, J.M. & Ramos-Parreño, J.M. Measuring the economic contribution of tourism to destinations within an input-output framework: some methodological issues. Port Econ J (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10258-019-00167-y

Download citation


  • Regional input-output tables
  • International tourism
  • Economic contribution
  • Hub and authority
  • Methodological tools