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Do travel visa requirements impede tourist travel?


Yes. Using a travel visa data set developed by Lawson and Lemke (2012) and travel flow data from the World Bank and the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), we investigate the deterrent effect of travel visa requirements on travel flows. At the aggregate level, a one standard deviation more severe travel visa regime, as measured, is associated with a 30 % decrease in inbound travel. At the bilateral level, having a travel visa requirement on a particular country is associated with a 70 % reduction in inbound travel from that country. The gains associated with eliminating travel visas appear to be very large.

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  3. To reduce potential heteroskedasticity, the dependent variable was logged. The pattern of results was similar in the non-logged specifications.

  4. The impact of a turning a dummy variable from 0 to 1 on a logged dependent variable is calculated as eβ – 1. The impact of turning a dummy variable from a 1 to a 0 is calculated as e – 1.

  5. Many of the tourism multiplier studies cited were conducted at the local or state level where leakages are likely to drive the multiplier down a lot. At the national level, and for a nation the size of the United States, concerns about leakages are surely less severe and thus the multiplier for the U.S. is likely higher than those for smaller areas.


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Correspondence to Robert A. Lawson.



Table 4 Variable descriptions

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Lawson, R.A., Roychoudhury, S. Do travel visa requirements impede tourist travel?. J Econ Finan 40, 817–828 (2016).

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  • Travel visas
  • Tourism
  • Travel
  • Globalization
  • Economic freedom

JEL Classification

  • F22
  • F52
  • F68
  • L83