Are World Heritage Sites Always Driving Tourism Demand?

Yu Xia Lin, Bi Shu Lin, Bi Yang, Bing Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether World Heritage sites (WHS) drive tourism demand is an ongoing debate. This study analyzes tourist arrival data at a provincial level in China from 1999 to 2014, and employs linear and nonlinear models to reexamine the relationship between tourism demand and the numbers of WHS. The results show that there is a significantly positive linear effect of WHS on both international and domestic tourist arrivals, and international tourism demand benefits more from WHS than domestic tourism. In addition, the effect of WHS on tourism exhibits an inverse U-shaped pattern where an optimal number of WHS exists. Finally, tourism specialization levels positively moderate the effect of WHS on tourism demand, and the relationship between WHS and tourism is not always positive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalTourism Analysis
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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