Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Eshragh Motahar




tourism, economics, GDP, travel, forecasting


Travel and tourism stimulates economic growth, investment and foreign trade. Almost 1/6 of the world’s population traveled to an international destination in 2005. Annual data show that international tourist arrivals are continuing to grow, but what variables determine where tourists decide to travel? The ideas of many past studies were examined to decide which variables to consider for my model. This study used a particular set of five destination countries as proxies for the five regions categorized by the World Tourism Organization. This allows the economic model to capture any area-specific characteristics. Data from over 150 origin countries are used to test if travel trends to these specific destinations are area-specific. The variables tested in this study, to determine what factors may have contributed to the growth of international arrivals, include GDP per capita, distance, population, population density, and exchange rates. There is a focus on the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. Through econometric analysis, I have found GDP per capita and distance to be robust determinants, implying that tourism forecasting should heavily rely on these factors. The population, population density, and exchange rate variables are significant for some destination countries but not all, implying these are site-specific variables. This thesis provides insight into tourism forecasting; destination countries can use this knowledge to try and promote tourism to countries where the leading variables will play a significant role.