Center/Periphery Imbalance in Tourism Development: The Case of Taiwan

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Many authors have examined the spatial distribution of tourism sites in an attempt to inform tourism planning and policy. Most of their work, however, has focused on physical planning issues and has overlooked the role of those tourism sites in transforming land into desirable or undesirable places to live for the host communities. This study attempts to address this concern from an environmental justice perspective by examining whether tourism development is evenly distributed across geographic regions and fairly distributed across sociodemographic groups in Taiwan. The results indicated that there is spatial inequality in the distribution of tourist sites. As predicted in literature examining tourism flows, tourist numbers were concentrated in peripheral areas with lower household incomes—the pleasure periphery. For example, Chomalai farm in Tainan County is a very popular destination but is located in one of the poorest regions in Taiwan. In addition, size of the local population and the average amount of money local people received from tourism appeared to be unrelated to numbers of tourists visiting the area. Due to the geographic clustering of most of the variables examined, it is recommended that subsequent studies consider using spatial regression instead of the traditional OLS regression, which is more frequently found in the literature. In conclusion, the findings support the current emphasis in sustainable tourism, suggesting that planners should consider whether tourism results in local undesirable or desirable land use because the tourism industry tends to disproportionably affect less-developed peripheral regions.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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