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In this research note, the authors analyse the relationship between destination competitiveness and globalisation. Destination competitiveness is measured with the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, while globalisation is measured with the KOF Index of Globalisation. The authors apply a cross-sectional analysis with 127 countries and territories to determine if globalisation is linked with destination competitiveness levels. The analysis illustrates that globalisation is highly correlated with destination competitiveness. Tourism policy implications and directions for future research are also discussed.
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Stanislav Ivanov
International University College, 3 Bulgaria Str., 9300 Dobrich, Bulgaria, tel: +359 58 655612,
fax: +359 58 605760, e-mail:
Craig Webster
University of Nicosia, 46 Makedonitissas Avenue, P.O. Box 24005, 1700 Nicosia, Cyprus, tel:
+357 22 351274, fax: +357 22 353682, e-mail:
Corresponding author: Stanislav Ivanov
In this research note, the authors analyse the relationship between destination competitiveness
and globalisation. Destination competitiveness is measured with the World Economic Forum’s
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, while globalisation is measured with the KOF Index
of Globalisation. The authors apply a cross-sectional analysis with 127 countries and territories to
determine if globalisation is linked with destination competitiveness levels. The analysis
illustrates that globalisation is highly correlated with destination competitiveness. Tourism policy
implications and directions for future research are also discussed.
Key words: destination competitiveness; World Economic Forum; Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness Index; globalisation
Stanislav Ivanov works in the Department of Tourism at the International University College (3
Bulgaria str., 9300 Dobrich, Bulgaria, tel: +359 58 655612, fax: +359 58 605760. Email:
<>). His research interests include economic impacts of tourism,
destination marketing, tourism and politics. Craig Webster is in the University of Nicosia. His
research interests include the political economy of tourism, the sociology of tourism, and public
opinion analysis.
Destination competitiveness has long been one of the major focal points of tourism research
(Botti et al., 2009; Crouch, 2011; Dwyer et al., 2004; Dwyer & Kim, 2003; Enright & Newton,
2005; Kozak et al., 2010; Ritchie & Crouch, 2005). Research has identified various drivers
(determinants, factors) of destination competitiveness such as tourist resources, tourism
infrastructure, general economic conditions in a country, political stability, and tourism
governance to name just a few. A destination competitiveness driver attracts visitors to a
destination and/or facilitates choices of, travel to and stays in a destination. The process of
globalisation (Bhagwati, 2005; Rodrick, 2011; Stiglitz, 2003), and the resulting levels of
globalisation of a destination could be considered as a driver of destination competitiveness,
because it facilitates travel to and stay in the destination. More globalised destinations should be
more competitive on the tourist market as they would have fewer restrictions to foreign travellers
and investors. In light of the above discussion, this research note empirically investigates whether
the level of globalisation of a tourist destination influences its competitiveness on the global
tourism marketplace.
[Insert Table 1 about here]
Table 1 presents the concepts, variables and data sources used in the analysis. In line with
previous studies (Kayar & Kozak, 2010; Mazanec & Ring, 2011; Webster & Ivanov, 2014)
destination competitiveness is modelled with the World Economic Forum’s (hereafter “WEF”)
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) (WEF, 2013). The TTCI index is based upon
three sub-indices which reflect 14 pillars (in WEF terminology) of travel and tourism
competitiveness summarised in Table 2. The WEF measures the tourism competitiveness of 140
countries. For 2013, the country with the highest value of the overall index is Switzerland (5.66)
while the lowest value is for Haiti (2.59). Despite the criticisms towards it (Wu et al., 2012), the
TTCI is currently the most important source of measures of destination competitiveness on a
global scale.
[Insert Table 2 about here]
[Insert Table 3 about here]
Globalisation is modelled with the KOF Index of Globalisation (2012), developed by Dreher
(2006), and is used in this analysis in line with previous studies (Ivanov & Webster, 2013;
Leibrecht et al., 2011). The KOF index is a composite index consisting of three sub-indices, each
consisting of indicators that measure the economic, social, and political dimensions of
globalisation (see Table 3). The composite index weighs each sub-index differently, emphasising
the economic (weight 0.36) and social (weight 0.37) aspects of globalisation over the political
ones (weight 0.27). The index ranges between one and one hundred with higher values denoting
greater levels of globalisation of the country. The KOF index measures the globalisation level of
187 countries, and for 2012, the highest value is for Belgium (92.76) while the lowest is for
Timor-Leste (23.44).
The cross-sectional analysis models destination competitiveness as a function of globalisation of
countries and a number of control variables. Population size, economy size, tourism GDP, and
per capita GDP are in natural logarithm form to avoid skewness of results in favour of countries
with large populations (China, India), economies (USA, Japan, China), tourism GDP (USA,
France, Spain, Italy) or per capita GDP (Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Qatar). The values of
these variables are calculated as average annual values from 2000-2010 (or 1999-2009 depending
on data availability) in order to eliminate short-term fluctuations caused by unexpected events
like 9/11, SARS, swine and bird flu outbreaks, the 2004 tsunami in South-East Asia, the world
economic crisis. The Human Development Index for 2012 is used to identify the potential
impacts of the level of human development of the destination on its competitiveness. Dummy
variables denote regions of the world and less developed countries. The final data set includes
127 countries for which data are available for all the variables.
[Insert Table 4 about here]
[Insert Table 5 about here]
Table 4 illustrates the bivariate correlations between the globalisation indices and TTCI. Results
show a very strong and statistically significant relationship (r=0.867) between the composite
globalisation index and TTCI. On the globalisation sub-index level, we see that destination
competitiveness is more highly correlated with social (r=0.862) and the economic (r=0.718)
globalisation than political (r=0.429) globalisation. Table 5 presents the regression results when
all control variables are taken into account. Findings reveal that globalisation has a strong,
positive and statistically significant impact on destination competitiveness. Most notably,
economic globalisation seems more important than social and political globalisation. We also
find that less developed countries are more competitive than other countries in the analysis, while
countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean seem less competitive. Furthermore,
results reveal that destinations with higher Human Development Index are more competitive.
Other variables do not have statistically significant impact on competitiveness. Both models in
Table 5 have very high explanatory power, explaining nearly 87% of variations in the overall
The results are not surprising. High economic (e.g. tariffs, foreign direct investment restrictions),
social (e.g. local population’s intolerance towards foreigners) and political (e.g. visas) barriers
could effectively decrease the attractiveness of a destination to potential visitors and its
competitiveness in relation to other destinations that do not impose such barriers. Therefore, we
can assume that countries with liberal political regimes would have higher destination
competitiveness. On the other hand, countries with liberal regimes tend to avoid strict regulations
of the tourism industry and often do not have national tourism organisations or if they have such,
these organisations have limited responsibilities (Webster et al., 2011). However, WEF’s TTCI
includes as a pillar “prioritisation of travel and tourism” (see Table 2 and WEF, 2013: 8) which
goes beyond the liberal paradigm in tourism destination management. Thus, it is not the political
philosophy of the government per se, but the actual actions it undertakes towards globalisation of
the country that contribute to its tourism industry competitiveness.
Results have important managerial implications for tourism policy makers. Globalisation of a
country can be used as a driver of its competitivenessa destination can become more
competitive when it is more open to the world in economic, social, and political aspects.
Nevertheless, globalisation should not be embraced unconditionallyas Ivanov & Webster
(2013) reveal, the level of globalisation of the country does not necessarily mean that its tourism
industry would increase the economic welfare of the local population. Further research should
delve deeper into the measures of destinations’ competitiveness and what social, political, and
economic phenomena are linked with it. More specifically, the political choices that countries
make in terms of how they integrate themselves into the global village should be investigated to
see how specific political choices are linked with the competitiveness of destinations for global
tourism. Research could also shed light whether destination sustainability influences positively its
Bhagwati, J. (2005). In defense of globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Botti, L., Peypoch, N., Robinot, E., & Solonadrasana, B. (2009). Tourism destination
competitiveness: The French regions case. European Journal of Tourism Research, 2(1),
Crouch, G.I. (2011). Destination competitiveness: An analysis of determinant attributes. Journal
of Travel Research, 50(1), 27-45.
Dreher, A. (2006). Does globalization affect growth? Evidence from a new Index of
Globalization. Applied Economics, 38(10), 1091-1110.
Dwyer, L., & Kim, C. (2003). Destination competitiveness: determinants and indicators. Current
Issues of Tourism, 6(5), 369414.
Dwyer, L., Mellor, R., Livaic, Z., Edwards, D., & Kim, C. (2004). Attributes of destination
competitiveness: a factor analysis. Tourism Analysis, 9(12), 91101.
Enright, M., & Newton, J. (2005). Determinants of tourism destination competitiveness in Asia
Pacific: Comprehensiveness and universality. Journal of Travel Research, 43(4), 339-350.
Ivanov, S., & Webster, C. (2013). Tourism’s impact on growth: The role of globalisation. Annals
of Tourism Research, 41, 231-236.
Kayar, C.H., & Kozak, N. (2010). Measuring destination competitiveness: An application of the
Travel and Tourism competitiveness index (2007). Journal of Hospitality Marketing and
Management, 19(3), 203-216.
KOF Index of Globalisation (2012). Retrieved July 20, 2012, from Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology Zurich Web site:
Kozak, M., Baloglu, S., & Bahar, O. (2010). Measuring destination competitiveness: multiple
destinations versus multiple nationalities. Journal of Hospitality Marketing &
Management, 19(1), 56-71.
Leibrecht, M., Klien, M., & Onaran, Ö. (2011). Globalization, welfare regimes and social
protection expenditures in Western and Eastern European countries. Public Choice,
148(3-4), 569-594.
Mazanec, J.A., & Ring, A. (2011). Tourism destination competitiveness: second thoughts on the
World Economic Forum reports. Tourism Economics, 17(4), 725751.
Ritchie, J.R.B., & Crouch G.I. (2005). The competitive destination: a sustainable tourism
perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rodrik, D. (2011). The globalization paradox: democracy and the future of the world economy.
New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Stiglitz, J. (2003). Globalization and its discontents. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Webster, C., & Ivanov, S. (2014). Transforming competitiveness into economic benefits: Does
tourism stimulate economic growth in more competitive destinations? Tourism
Management, 40, 137-140.
Webster, C., Ivanov, S., & Illum, S. (2011). The paradigms of political economy and tourism
policy: NTOs and state policy. In J. Mosedale (Ed.), Political Economy and Tourism (pp.
55-73). New York and Oxford: Routledge.
World Economic Forum (2013). The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013. Geneva:
WEF. Retrieved March 24, 2013, from WEF Web site:
Wu, W.-W., Lan, L.W., & Lee, Y.-T. (2012). Critiquing the World Economic Forum's concept of
destination competitiveness: A further analysis. Tourism Management Perspectives, 4,
Table 1
Concepts, Variables, and Primary Data Sources
Primary data source
Dependent variable
Destination competitiveness
WEF Overall Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness Index (2013)
World Economic Forum
Independent variables
Composite globalisation index
1. Globalisation index
2012 KOF Index of Globalisation
Disaggregate globalisation index
2.1. Economic globalisation
2.2. Social globalisation
2.3. Political globalisation
Population size
Log average population (2000-2010)both
sexes combined, as of 1st July of the respective
United Nations
Economy size
Log average GDP (1999-2009) in US$ in 2011
United Nations
Tourism GDP
Log average Travel and tourism GDP (2000-
2010) in US$ in 2011 prices
World Travel and Tourism Council
Economic wealth of local
Log average per capita GDP (1999-2009) in
US$ in 2011 prices
Authors’ calculations
Human Development
Human Development Index (2012)
United Nations
Tourism share in country GDP
Average share of tourism GDP (1999-2009)
Authors’ calculations
Geographic region
Dummy variables for geographic regions
Breakdown of world regions adopted
from United Nations’ classifications
Less developed country
Dummy variable
United Nations
Table 2
TTCI Sub-indices and Pillars of Destination Competitiveness
1. Policy rules and regulations
2. Environmental sustainability
3. Safety and security
4. Health and hygiene
5. Prioritisation of travel and tourism
6. Air transport infrastructure
7. Ground transport infrastructure
8. Tourism infrastructure
9. ICT infrastructure
10. Price competitiveness in the travel and tourism
11. Human resources
12. Affinity for travel and tourism
13. Natural resources
14. Cultural resources
Source: World Economic Forum (2013)
Table 3
KOF Index of Globalisation
1. Trade (percent of GDP)
2. FDI (percent of GDP)
3. Portfolio investment (percent of GDP)
4. Income payments to foreign nationals (percent of
5. Hidden import barriers
6. Mean tariff rate
7. Taxes on international trade (percent of current
8. Capital account restrictions
9. Telephone traffic
10. Transfers (percent of GDP)
11. International tourism
12. Foreign population (percent of total population)
13. International letters (per capita)
14. Internet users (per 1000 people)
15. Televisions (per 1000 people)
16. Trade in newspapers (percent of GDP)
17. Number of McDonald’s restaurants (per capita)
18. Number of Ikeas (per capita)
19. Trade in books (percent of GDP)
20. Embassies in country
21. Membership in international organisations
22. Participation in UN Security Council missions
23. International treaties
Source: KOF Index of Globalisation (2012)
Table 4
Bivariate Correlation Results
Pearson correlation
Globalisation index
Economic globalisation
(0. 000)
Social globalisation
Political globalisation
*** Significant at 1%-level
Table 5
Regression Model Results
Model variables
Dependent variable: Destination competitiveness
Standardised coefficients
Model 1
Composite globalisation
Model 2
Disaggregate globalisation
Population size
Economic wealth of local population
Tourism GDP
Tourism share in country GDP
Latin America and the Caribbean
Northern America
Less developed country
Human Development
Globalisation index
Economic globalisation
Social globalisation
Political globalisation
Excluded variables
Collinearity Statistics
Economy size
Model summary
R Square
Adjusted R Square
Standard Error of the Estimate
Number of countries (N)
*Significant at 10%-level; ** Significant at 5%-level; *** Significant at 1%-level
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Globalisation is a political, economic, and social phenomenon and there are many who are in favor of it and many opposed to it. In this piece, the authors analyze the relationship between tourism and globalisation. The authors analyze 167 countries and territories for the years 2000-2010 to determine if globalisation has been linked with increases in per capita tourism’s contribution to economic growth. The analysis illustrates that there is no correlation between globalisation and the average per capita economic growth contribution of tourism for the years 2000-2010.
The Evolving Nature of Competition and Sustainability Conceptual and Theorectical Perspectives Part I: The Competitive Destination Part II: The Sustainable Tourism Destination A Model of Destination Competitiveness The Macroenvironment: Global Forces Shaping World Tourism The Competitive (Micro)Environment: The Destination and the Tourism System Core Resources and Attractors: The Essence of Destination Appeal Supporting Factors and Resources: Elements that Enhance Destination Appeal Destination Policy, Planning and Development Destination Management: The Key to Maintaining a Sustainable Competitive Advantage Qualifying and Amplifying Determinants: Parameters that Define Destination Potential The Destination Audit: Putting the Model to Work.
From the mercantile monopolies of seventeenth-century empires to the modern-day authority of the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, the nations of the world have struggled to effectively harness globalization's promise. The economic narratives that underpinned these eras-the gold standard, the Bretton Woods regime, the "Washington Consensus"-brought great success and great failure. In this eloquent challenge to the reigning wisdom on globalization, Dani Rodrik offers a new narrative, one that embraces an ineluctable tension: we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national self-determination, and economic globalization. When the social arrangements of democracies inevitably clash with the international demands of globalization, national priorities should take precedence. Combining history with insight, humor with good-natured critique, Rodrik's case for a customizable globalization supported by a light frame of international rules shows the way to a balanced prosperity as we confront today's global challenges in trade, finance, and labor markets.
Recent conceptual work on tourism destination competitiveness has proposed a comprehensive approach that adds industry-level competitiveness attributes to more conventional tourism destination attributes. This study builds on these ideas by generating sets of both attributes, developing a methodology for assessing their relative importance and examining the degree to which their relative importance varies across locations. Survey data were gathered from tourism industry practitioners in three closely competing destinations in Asia Pacific and were subjected to statistical testing. The results provide strong empirical support for the inclusion of both industry-level and destination attributes in studies of tourism competitiveness. The results also question approaches to competitiveness that assume that the relative importance of attributes is common across locations, suggesting, rather, that the importance of competitiveness attributes may vary across locations, depending on product mix and target market segments, especially in complex, multifaceted industries such as tourism.