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Does happiness drive tourism decisions?

Jordi Paniagua (), Jesús Peiró-Palomino and María Santana-Gallego

Economic Modelling, 2022, vol. 111, issue C

Abstract: This research examines the role that happiness plays in affecting tourism flows. While most previous studies are country-specific, our analysis is performed with panel data on 142 countries from 2005 to 2019. This allows us to implement a structural gravity model that includes both domestic and international tourism flows, which is a novel approach in this branch of the literature. Our empirical strategy enables us to correctly identify happiness when multilateral resistance terms are included. The results show that happiness at a destination is a significant tourist attractor, although the link follows an inverted U-shaped pattern. This suggests that tourists associate happiness with the quality of life at a destination but after a threshold, it becomes less important. Moreover, when cultural distance is greater, the effect of happiness on tourism arrivals is smaller. Therefore, tourists can better interpret happiness when origin and destination cultures are similar.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2022.105824

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