High speed rail and tourism: Empirical evidence from Spain

This paper evaluates how changes in the provision of high-speed rail (HSR) services affect tourism outcomes in Spain, a tourist country with the newest and longest HSR network in Europe. To do so it employs an empirical strategy based on the differences-in-differences panel data method with double fixed effects. Data are provided by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) and cover 50 provinces over a 15-year time span (1998–2013). The authors' results provide mixed evidence about the impact of HSR accessibility on tourist outcomes. On the one hand, the authors find that air traffic is negatively affected by HSR and air traffic is a strong predictor of tourist arrivals. This suggests a negative indirect effect of HSR on tourist outcomes. On the other hand, HSR may have a positive (weak) direct effect on tourism. However, such result is conditioned on the measure of HSR accessibility and econometric technique used. Thus, the net effect of HSR on tourism outcomes is not consistently positive. This pattern might be attributed to a network design that does not respond to ridership needs and which has a substitution effect on air transportation, the main mode for long-distance tourist mobility.


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  • Accession Number: 01597531
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 4 2016 3:47PM