Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Development

Exploring International Tourism Trends in the Mediterranean: Convergence or Big Divergence

Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Development

Exploring International Tourism Trends in the Mediterranean: Convergence or Big Divergence

Article excerpt


After the post-WWII emergence of mass travel, the richness of the scenery of its coastal environment, its mild climate, and its impressive cultural heritage turned the Mediterranean into a significant tourist draw. The Mediterranean basin, if considered as a single area, is by far the largest global tourism destination, attracting almost a third of the world's international tourists (306 million out of 980 million worldwide) and generating more than a quarter of international tourism receipts (190 out of 738 billion Euro worldwide). It is forecasted that the Mediterranean region will reach 500 million of international tourist arrivals by 2030 (UNWTO 2012). (GRID-Arendal, 2013). Do the tourism economy on Mediterranean region and its sector economy shares within countries in the region: converge? The following research question is asked in this paper in an effort to analyze the main problem: whether tourism trends in recent decades push the regional tourism growth in a convergence direction and can we explain and predict the probability that a hypothetical country (saying Croatia, particularly) constitute specific profile linked to convergence? The paper is organized as follows. The next section begins by literature overview and theoretical considerations about tourism convergence in the region, and after mapping out the research strategy, we introduce the dataset. The next chapter shows descriptive analyses carried out on these international tourism flow trends, while in proceeding we carry out the convergence analyses on the whole dataset.

The subsequent section presents and discusses the empirical results in Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Cluster Analysis (CA), and the final section concludes.


Our research introduces the clustering of tourism countries in Mediterranean region with the intention of explaining the convergence hypothesis within the design methodology. In the existing tourism economics literature, we have not found a valid justification for such a direction of research, most probably due to our original design. We will refer only to a smaller portion of recent empirical research relating to convergence in regard to tourism. Korres et al(2008) investigates and attempts to explain the role and socio-economic effects of tourism activities in the convergence and divergence process of European regions (in an attempt to interpret the so-called Dutch Disease phenomenon). Narayan (2007) test the convergence hypothesis by examining visitor arrivals to Fiji from eight tourist sources markets, and find strong statistical evidence by unit root and cointegration testing that Fiji's tourism markets converge.Ozan Bahar at al ( 2013) analyze whether or not there is any convergence between top ten countries, listed by World Tourism Organization, which have the largest volume of visitor arrivals in similar venue by cointegration technique. In the context of analyzing services confidence convergence among old and new EU Member States, Vojinovic at al(2016) put a special focus on convergence in tourism sector. By analyzing ß convergence they tested the volume of tourist arrivals and nights spent by tourists and find no convergence.


Each Mediterranean state traditionally has viewed its tourist product as competing with that of neighboring states (Apostolopoulosk; Sönmez, 2000). Any single Mediterranean country is small with respect to the global tourism market. In regard to convergence idea, once the small Mediterranean country finds a tourism supply niche in which it can compete, it can expand. What matters is a country's relative endowment of the natural resource, rather than its absolute size (Lanza; Pigliaru, 2000).As it does, a country specialized, learns, achieves greater scale, and becomes more efficient in attracting tourism demand. Saying, we assume that a one Mediterranean country has 10 percent market share in the region. …

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