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Title:Tourism destination competitiveness, globalization, and strategic development from a development economics perspective
Author(s):Kim, Namhyun
Director of Research:Schwartz, Zvi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Huang, Zhuowei
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Schwartz, Zvi; Wicks, Bruce E.; Tainsky, Scott; Baer, Werner W.
Department / Program:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline:Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Tourism Destination Competitiveness
Development Strategy
Tourism Development
Foreign Direct Investment
Tourism Policy
Developing Countries
Abstract:The dissertation aims to propose a tourism destination competitiveness model to help tourism policy makers in different country groups acknowledge relevant factors given their unique situational characteristics with regard to globalization and economic development. Studies on tourism destination competitiveness (TDC) have emerged to explain how tourism destinations can achieve competitiveness and enhance economic and social development. Although tourism literature has developed conceptual tourism competitiveness models, few studies have conducted empirical tests and these studies have not proposed TDC models that take into account the context of destinations, such as the impact of globalization and the level of economic development. Therefore, this study aims to empirically test a structural equation model of tourism destination competitiveness from the development economics perspective. The proposed research model explores the impacts of hypothesized determinants on TDC and the relationship between TDC and socioeconomic prosperity at the national level. Four main factors of tourism competitiveness are proposed: core resources/attractions, complementary conditions, destination management, and demand conditions. This study adds globalization as a main factor of tourism destination competitiveness and tests the economic development as a moderating effect, extending previous TDC models. The hypothesized measurement models of each determinant (exogenous construct) and dependent latent variable (endogenous construct) of tourism competitiveness, and the structural model are tested using Partial Least Square (PLS) path modeling with 139 cases of countries/economies. Additionally, the moderating effect of economic development is tested by Partial Least Square (PLS) - Multiple Group Analysis (MGA). This empirical study suggests several important implications according to findings. First, the findings suggest that the main determinants of TDC include globalization as a main factor of TDC. The results suggest that the main determinants of TDC are core resources/attractions, destination management, and globalization in both high-income and low-income country groups. However, the degree of impact of the three determinants was different across the two groups of countries. For the high-income country group, the core resources/attractions had the strongest impact on TDC, while for the low-income country group globalization measured by the net inflow of FDI had the strongest impact on TDC. This finding provides strong empirical support for this study’s assertion that the TDC framework should be extended to account for economic globalization as a main factor, especially in developing and less developed countries. Second, this study suggests that there is a difference in the impact of determinants on TDC across two income-level country groups, confirming the moderating effect of economic development. The difference in the degree of impacts of core resources/attractions was supported. The effect of core resources/attractions on TDC was greater in the high-income country group than in the low-income country group. This finding suggests that the strategy of enhancing resources and attractions to improve TDC might be more effective for developed countries than for developing or less-developed ones. On the other hand, for the low-income country group the priority should be given to the policy of FDI over other factors of TDC. Third, in contrast to the conceptual TDC models, complementary conditions representing tourism infrastructure and general infrastructure were not supported as a main determinant of TDC in both income country groups. While the previous literature has suggested that demand condition of a country is an important factor to enhance competitiveness, this empirical study did not support this argument. It implies that the conceptual TDC models need to be refined or callsfor further research on the relationship of complementary conditions and domestic demand conditions with TDC. Lastly, the finding shows that there is a positive relationship between TDC and socioeconomic prosperity in both groups. This suggests that tourism competitiveness contributes to the standard of living of residents in the destination supporting the tourism-led growth hypothesis. The main contributions of this study are as follows: First, from the results of comprehensive data analysis, this study contributes to the transformation from a definitional model to an explanatory model of tourism destination competitiveness by exploring the structural relationships between all constructs, tourism competitiveness, and the standard of living; second, this study contributes to expanding the current TDC model by adding the global perspective to explain the structural relationships. This study shows that economic globalization plays a critical role in both high-income and low-income countries; third, the results of this study contribute to the implementation of optimal policies in order to enhance global tourism competitiveness to fit a nation’s stage of economic development.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Namhyun Kim
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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