The geography of industry specialization: tourism development strategies within the Appalachian regional commission area

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Suzanne Gallaway (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Keith Debbage

Abstract: As a result of the tourism industry's growth and receipts many communities have embraced the industry as an economic development tool. It is less clear if tourism can be a panacea. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a better understanding of the economic geography of the tourism industry across the geographically complex Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) study area. Using NAICS-based County Business Patterns data from the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau, this research endeavors to examine some of the economic impacts of tourism agglomeration by analyzing the industry's establishments, employment and average wages while utilizing a core-periphery theoretical framework. The empirical and spatial analysis revealed that while core counties had more tourism establishments and employment in absolute terms, there was a greater dependence on the tourism industry in the peripheral counties. These clusters of greater tourism dependence were found in the Smoky Mountains and the Poconos. Correlation analysis indicated that a positive and significant relationship was found between both accommodation establishment and employment location quotients versus accommodation average wages for the ARC as a whole. Conversely, the specialized periphery saw accommodation average wage levels driven down with the clustering of accommodation establishments. The implication here is that while tourism agglomeration can benefit the industry in economically robust counties, it can actually have a negative impact on accommodation wages in remote, less diversified counties were alternative economic opportunities are limited. Additionally, remoteness as measured by the percent of National Forest and National Park land acreage by county was positively correlated to accommodation agglomeration indicating that tourism clusters in the ARC are often associated with natural amenities and wilderness.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Appalachia, Core-periphery, Economic geography, Tourism geography
Tourism $x Government policy.
Tourism $zAppalachian Region.
Appalachian Regional Commission.
Economic geography.
Regional economics.
Regional economic disparities.

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