Visa restrictions and their adverse economic and marketing implications - Evidence from China

Haiyan Song, William C. Gartner, Asli D.A. Tasci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Governments spend considerable public resources, including tax dollars, on marketing their cities or countries in order to become a strong brand attractive for exports, foreign direct investment and tourism. Ironically at the same time, self-imposed and strict visa regulations that can potentially hamper the productivity of marketing and branding are fairly common. There are valid reasons for imposing strict visa regulations, two of the most important being national and economic security. Although strict visa regulations are a common phenomenon around the world, the tourism academia have yet to argue against strict visa regulations by providing empirical evidence on their potential impact on tourism demand, and hence the economy. The current study is a pioneer attempt to generate awareness about the potential detrimental impacts of visa restrictions on a country's economy, by using the case of People's Republic of China, one of the countries known to have a history of strict visa regulations. The research reported in this paper was based on the standard tourism demand function, which models the causal relationship between tourism demand and a number of macroeconomic variables. The autoregressive distributed lag model (ADLM) was used since it has a dynamic specification that takes the time path of the tourist decision-making process into consideration by using both current and lagged values of variables. Results show the negative effect of visa regulations on both country-level and prefecture-level economies. Implications are discussed and recommendations provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-412
Number of pages16
JournalTourism Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors would like to thank The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for providing the Research Project Fund (Grant No. G-YH72 ) to conduct this study. The authors would also like to thank Chris Cao for his excellent research assistance.


  • Autoregressive distributed lag model (ADLM)
  • China
  • Economic impact of tourism
  • Marketing productivity
  • Visa regulations


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