Infectious disease risk and international tourism demand
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Context: For some countries, favourable climatic conditions for tourism are often associated with favourable conditions for infectious diseases, with the ensuing development constraints on the tourist sectors of impoverished countries where tourism’s economic contribution has a high potential. This paper evaluates the economic implications of eradication of Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever and Ebola on the affected destination countries focusing on the tourist expenditures. Methods: A gravity model for international tourism flows is used to provide an estimation of the impact of each travel-related disease on international tourist arrivals. Next the potential eradication of these diseases in the affected countries is simulated and the impact on tourism expenditures is estimated. Findings: The results show that, in the case of Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever and Ebola, the eradication of these diseases in the affected countries would result in an increase of around 10 million of tourist worldwide and a rise in the tourism expenditure of 12 billion dollars. Conclusion: By analysing the economic benefits of the eradication of Dengue, Ebola, Malaria, and Yellow Fever for the tourist sector—a strategic economic sector for many of the countries where these TRD are present—this paper explores a new aspect of the quantification of health policies which should be taken into consideration in future international health assessment programmes. It is important to note that the analysis is only made of the direct impact of the diseases’ eradication and consequently the potential multiplicative effects of a growth in the GDP, in terms of tourism attractiveness, are not evaluated. Consequently, the economic results can be considered to be skeleton ones.
Health Policy and Planning
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