Modelling the economic impact of international tourism on the Chinese economy: a CGE analysis of the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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International inbound tourism to China has grown phenomenally since 1980 and the hosting of the Olympics in 2008 was an important milestone. This paper takes the first step in applying computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling to forecasting the economic contribution of tourism generated by the Beijing Olympics. CGE modelling has been widely applied to different tourism issues in many countries. In China, it has been used in fields such as taxation and international trade. However, economic impact studies on China's tourism using CGE modelling have not been found. The paper includes two types of estimations: ex ante and ex post. The ex ante estimation was conducted before the Beijing Olympics and thus predicted the impact of international tourism based on historical data, such as previous literature and historical statistics. The ex post estimation was conducted several months after the Beijing Olympics and the estimation was based on up-to-date statistics published by the China National Tourism Administration. The economic impact generated from the two types of estimations is compared. It was found that, while the economic impact of international tourism was predicted to be positive in the ex ante estimation, this impact was analysed as negative in the ex post estimation.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2011

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  • 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).

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