The Determinants of Foreign Tourism Demand: Separating Elasticities for the Extensive and the Intensive Margin
Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 482, February 2019
28 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2019
Date Written: January 25, 2019
This paper estimates the elasticities of Italy’s foreign tourism demand to relative prices, nominal and real exchange rates using a dataset for tourism flows to Italy (and its macroregions) over the period 1997-2015. By separating total tourism expenditure into the number of arrivals and per-capita expenditure, the effect of each explanatory variable can be divided into an extensive and an intensive margin. This disaggregation helps to clarify the reasons behind the mixed evidence found in the literature and offers a richer interpretation of elasticities. We find that the elasticities of tourism expenditure to relative prices and to nominal and real exchange rates are negative and range from -0.5 to -0.7, in line with previous results found in the literature. The effect on expenditure is channelled mainly via the extensive margin (i.e. the number of arrivals). Southern Italy shows higher price elasticities than the rest of the country, signalling a higher exposure to the competitive pressures from other Mediterranean destinations.
Keywords: international tourism, demand elasticity
JEL Classification: F14, L83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation