Influence of Tourism Economy on Air Quality—An Empirical Analysis Based on Panel Data of 102 Cities in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Fen Zhang
  • Haochen Peng
  • Xiaofan Sun
  • Tianyi Song


Original languageEnglish
Article number4393
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Online published6 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes



The relationship between regional tourism development and air quality is complex. Al-though air pollution restricts tourists’ willingness to travel, the air pollution produced by tourism and its ancillary industries can also not be ignored. Using the annual panel data of PM2.5 concentration and tourism revenue at the city level, and comprehensively using the Panel VAR model, Geodetector and other analysis methods, we explored the spatio-temporal relationship between the tourism economy and its impact on air quality in China. The main conclusions are as follows: first, the “Kuznets” curve of tourism development and air pollution in mainland China from 2004 to 2016 is generally significant—that is, the tourism economy and air pollution generally show an “inverted U-shaped” relationship. Second, the tourism economy has a positive effect on air pollution in the short term, and this effect is stronger in the eastern region. Third, tourism economy is not the leading factor affecting the change in regional air pollution. GDP and industrial structure are more likely to have the greatest impact on air pollution, and the effect of this “joint force” factor on air pollution is greater than that of other single factors. In the future, the high-quality development of China’s tourism economy needs to take environmental protection into consideration, and advocate for low-carbon travel and green tourism.

Research Area(s)

  • air pollution, environmental Kuznets curve, Geodetector, penal VAR, tourism economy

Citation Format(s)

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