Tourism and Economic Growth: A Meta-regression Analysis

Robin Nunkoo*, Boopen Seetanah, Zameelah Rifkha Khan Jaffur, Paul George Warren Moraghen, Raja Vinesh Sannassee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Numerous studies have focused on delineating the relationship between tourism and economic growth. In this article, we present the results of a rigorous meta-regression analysis based on 545 estimates drawn from 113 studies that empirically tested the tourism-led growth hypothesis (TLGH). The results suggest the presence of publication bias in the literature on this topic, where the majority of studies report positive and statistically significant estimates. Findings provide support for the TLGH, but they also suggest that the estimates are sensitive to a number of factors that are related to country data, specification, and estimation characteristics, and time span. Such sensitivities suggest that greater emphasis should be placed on reporting estimates of the relationship between tourism and economic growth across a variety of methodological characteristics and specification and estimation choices. The implications of the results for theory development are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)404-423
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 29. May 2019


  • Economic growth
  • Meta-regression analysis
  • Methodology
  • Publication bias
  • Tourism-led growth hypothesis

Cite this

Nunkoo, R., Seetanah, B., Jaffur, Z. R. K., Moraghen, P. G. W., & Sannassee, R. V. (2020). Tourism and Economic Growth: A Meta-regression Analysis. Journal of Travel Research, 59(3), 404-423.