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Free Content Tourism and openness to trade in Singapore: evidence using aggregate and country-level data

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Tourism has been identified as one of the key growth sectors in Singapore's economy. Given that the city state has been recognized as one of the most open economies in the world, this study explores the causality relationships between tourism and openness to trade, using aggregated variables – total visitor arrivals and data on trade components (merchandise and services) – and their respective disaggregated data by country for each of Singapore's top five trading partners – Malaysia, China, the USA, Japan and South Korea. The study shows bidirectional causality between international visitor arrivals in Singapore and openness to merchandise trade. However, the causality pattern varies among Singapore's major trading partners if country-level data are used. The overall findings imply that further trade liberalization with Singapore's major trading partners may not necessarily encourage visitor arrivals from those countries, but can be seen as an important catalyst for the growth and development of the tourism sector. Conversely, an increase in tourism activities could also encourage the host country to open itself to more international trade. Furthermore, it is imperative to liberalize the service sector in Singapore to facilitate greater openness in merchandise trade, given that a large proportion of services constitutes the goods trade.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Tourism Economics, published bimonthly, is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the economics and finance of tourism worldwide. Articles address the components of the tourism product (accommodation; restaurants; merchandizing; attractions; transport; entertainment; tourist activities); and the economic organization of tourism at micro and macro levels (market structure; role of public/private sectors; community interests; strategic planning; marketing; finance; economic development).

    Fast Track. Tourism Economics Fast Track papers have been peer-reviewed, revised and fully accepted for publication. However, although these are the final versions from the authors, they are unedited manuscripts and will undergo a rigorous editing process before their appearance in an issue of the journal. This means that the Fast Track manuscripts may not conform to journal style in terms of presentation, spelling and other usages. They may also contain errors of typography, grammar, spelling, referencing, etc, all of which will be corrected in the processes of copy-editing and proofreading.
    Tourism Economics operates a Fast Track online publication system so that papers can be published and made available almost immediately on final acceptance by the journal. Each Fast Track article is given a DOI. When the paper is assigned to an issue, this DOI will automatically be transferred to the article in the journal issue.
    Fast Track articles may be cited using the DOI. Citations should include the author's or authors' name(s), the title of the article, the title of the journal followed by the words Fast Track, the year of Fast Track publication and the DOI. For example:

    Smith, J. (2013), Article title, Tourism Economics Fast Track, DOI xxxxxxxx.

    Once the paper has been published in an issue of the journal, the DOI will automatically resolve to that final version and the article can be cited in accordance with normal bibliographical conventions.

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