Ethnic Reunion and Cultural Affinity

Working Paper 293
Author(s): 
Johan Fourie and Maria Santana-Gallego
Publication date: 
June, 2012
Journal: 
Tourism Management

Ethnic reunion is the propensity of tourists to travel to regions where their ancestors originate from, while cultural affinity is the propensity of tourists to travel to regions with a shared cultural identity. This paper uses a "world migration matrix", which records the year-1500 origins of the current populations of 159 countries, in a standard tourism gravity equation to provide the first empirical evidence of the existence of both these tourism traits at the global level. Our results remain robust even when controlling for other historical links, such as colonial legacy and regional trade agreements. By controlling for trade flows, we also show that this impact is unique to tourism. Ethnic reunion and cultural affinity are thus important — and neglected — constituents of tourism patterns (and of research), with important policy implications.

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