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N. Zugravu-Soilita, V Geronimi, C. Le Gargasson, J. Tsang Sang (2017). Towards a less vulnerable and more sustainable development : heritage tourism in island economies. FAERE Working Paper, 2017.11.

Auteur : Natalia Zugravu-Soilita (CEMOTEV),Vincent Geronimi (CEMOTEV), Christine Le Gargasson (CEMOTEV), Jessy Tsang King Sang (CEMOTEV)
Working paper : Towards a less vulnerable and more sustainable development : heritage tourism in island economies
Date : 2017

le 16 juin 2017



For many small island economies, international tourism is an essential source of growth.However, considering the sustainability of their development path, it is not necessarily possible nordesirable for all of them. We consider the existence of nonlinear relationships between specialization in tourism, vulnerability and sustainability. By using panel regression analysis, we show that international tourism reduces vulnerability and increases sustainability—captured by the genuine savings— only for intermediate tourism specialization levels. Alternatively, vulnerability increases and sustainability decreases when tourism specialization levels are below [above] certain thresholds, found to be twice less [higher] (or even insignificant) for island economies compared
to other countries in the world. We assume that the level of differentiation (through the mobilization of natural and/or cultural heritage) of tourist services should moderate the effect of specializing in tourism on vulnerability and sustainability. Empirical results show that heritagebased tourism is one of the most sustainable strategies for the islands highly relying on tourism activities. Alternative tourism strategies are discussed based on our empirical results and illustrative case studies.

Keywords – heritage, insularity, sustainable development, tourism, vulnerability
JEL classification – Z32, O57, Q01