Tourism and related recreation activities play a significant role in the generation of income / foreign exchange and provision of employment opportunities. Against this backdrop, this paper aims at ascertaining empirically the impact of tourism on the West African economy from 2000 – 2004. The relationship is analysed based on a panel data approach. While the study estimates the relationship between economic growth and growth in tourist arrivals conditional on main macroeconomic variables, it recommends that the role of tourism cannot be over-emphasized in the sustainable economic development in West Africa. In other words, economic performance in West Africa can be enhanced through sound tourism development policies that support economic openness with greater emphasis on liberalization policy since the region stands to gain from this policy stance.