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Tourism Economics


Scagnolari S.

Course director


This course is designed and taught in conjunction with the course “Tourism Growth and Economic Development”. Through the dialogue of these two courses, students are introduced to the principles, methods and approaches of the mainstream tourism economic theory. More precisely, this course is intended to be a first introduction to how an economist approaches tourism phenomena. According to the fundamentals of microeconomics analysis, it covers the study of the tourism demand, supply and market. More detailed, the first part of the course will examine the microeconomics concepts behind the tourism demand and the key elements that drive the tourist’s choice: (a) preferences for tourism; (b) income and time (that represent the most binding factors for consumption); (c) the prices. The second part will begin with the study of the supply side by focusing on the economic rationale of firms supplying goods and services that are included in the matrix of the tourism product. In the third part, the main models describing the different theoretical market structures will be reviewed. In addition, to enrich the toolbox to be provided, several selected topics will be discussed, such as the policy of product differentiation, the case of asymmetric information, the importance of information searching for tourists and the effects of advertising and alternative mechanisms of information retrieval.


On the completion of this course, students will: 

  • Understand the choice models that explain how the tourist decides as regards the length of stay, type of holiday and location. 
  • Understand the importance of some key factors such as time, habits, and the evolution of preferences.
  • Comprehend the most relevant market regimes and their application to the sectors in which tourism firms compete. 
  • Comprehend the content and the consequences of strategies undertaken by tourism firms to increase market power.

Sustainable development goals

  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Indusrty, innovation and infrastracture
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

The learning method aimed at considering tourism economics as an applied field of study; therefore, the issues discussed are approached intuitively and by largely using case studies.

Examination information

For the exact structure of the exam, please refer to the teaching material online (iCorsi).