A DEA Travel–Tourism Competitiveness Index


Travel and tourism competitiveness has been paramount in the research agenda for transport, tourism and economics over the last decades because a larger number of destinations and businesses have entered into the international tourism market. Different approaches have been postulated to measuring, modeling and managing competitiveness in tourism. The present study aims to create a composite index of the travel and tourism competitiveness to rank 139 countries worldwide. Our sample is based on some of the data collected in “The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011”, and the method is based on the virtual efficiency DEA model. An analysis of the competitiveness by geographical area and income is also analyzed. Finally some policy implications are discussed.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    ICT is an acronym that means “Information and Communication Technology”.

  2. 2.

    As a referee has pointed out, this variable could also been treated as a bad or an undesirable output. In this case, we have preferred to use a well-known and conventional method that treats this variable as an input, as it is known that this method is equivalent to other proposals which are based on a translation of these variables to treat them as outputs (Ali and Seiford 1990). Nowadays, there are new DEA models that can differentiate inputs, desirable outputs and undesirable outputs (Seiford and Zhu 2002). Nevertheless, it is out of the scope of this paper to discuss the robustness of the results using different DEA models, but this could be an interesting area for future research.

  3. 3.

    The score refers to the percentage of UN countries whose citizens require a visa to enter each country. Each country that requires no visa at all receives a “1” and each country for which it is possible to obtain a visa upon arrival receives “0.5”. Those countries for which a visa is required prior to departure would receive a “0”. The sum across all UN countries produces the final score.

  4. 4.

    This variable is the ratio of the sum of international tourism expenditures and receipts to GDP. “International tourism expenditures” are expenditures of international outbound visitors in other countries, including payments to foreign carriers for international transport. “International tourism receipts” are expenditures of international inbound visitors in other countries, including payments to foreign carriers for international transport.

  5. 5.

    Different envelopment surfaces may be obtained considering additional constraints about the scalars. For example, variable returns to scale models (VRS) are obtained imposing that the sum of scalars is equal to one; and non-increasing return to scale models (NIRS) are characterized by the restriction of the sum of scalars being less or equal to one.

  6. 6.

    This discussion is very close to the definition of Pareto–Koopmans efficiency. The unit o is considered fully efficient if and only if the performance of other DMUs does not provide evidence that some of the inputs or outputs of the unit o could have been improved without worsening off some of its other inputs or outputs. This definition of relative performance has its origin in Farrell (1957).

  7. 7.

    We note here that all the DEA-TTCI scores are >1. The values have been calculated according to the formulation of DEA-LP program described by Eq. 2.

  8. 8.

    GNI per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GNI is gross national income (GNI) converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GNI as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. GNI is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad.


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This work benefits from a research project “La calidad del servicio en la industria hotelera. ECO2011-23852” funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government. We also want to thank many colleagues’ comments, suggestions, discussions and assistance. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Juan Carlos Martín.

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Martín, J.C., Mendoza, C. & Román, C. A DEA Travel–Tourism Competitiveness Index. Soc Indic Res 130, 937–957 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-1211-3

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  • Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index
  • Virtual DEA
  • World Economic Forum