The Geographic Dispersal of Visitors: Insights from the Power law

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Travel Research, 2017, 56, (1), pp. 108-121
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This article aims to examine the conjecture that geographic dispersal of visitors follows the power law using data on international visitors’ spatial distribution in Australia. Our finding suggests that as tourism market matures, the pattern of tourist dispersal tends to converge toward a specific power law distribution. The article provides estimates of this unique power exponent for each country and tracks its temporal evolution using a novel method. One of the key implications for sustainable destination management is that for continued tourism growth, large destinations need a large number of small peripheral destinations. Our findings also shed light on the rich research literature that is fundamental in developing a power law–based theory to guide our understanding of the mechanics underpinning the spatial evolution of tourism.
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