The economic, social, and environmental impacts of cruise tourism

Document Type


Publication Date



Accounting and Finance

Publication Title

Tourism Management


We use a unique multi-method natural experiment to measure economic, social, and environmental impacts of cruise tourism on a local community. Through the measurement of multidimensional indicators before and after the opening of a cruise ship port, and using control groups, we compare community impacts with greater detail and control than previous studies. Although theory and industry multiplier estimates predict gains in employment, income, and related measures, we find little evidence of improvement. The ability of the local population to provide for necessities and obtain sufficient food worsened, corruption increased, and there were substantial negative environmental impacts. One observed benefit to communities was a decrease in crime due to an increase in government expenditure on policing. Our results show that in low taxation and regulation environments with an absence of community development and involvement initiatives, large cruise tourism projects can fail to provide benefits for local populations.

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