Effects of population migration on rural tourism

Liping A. Cai, Jack Liu, Joy Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent non-metropolitan turnaround in the USA has resulted in population migration from large cities to small towns and countryside. The marketing opportunity presented to rural tourism comes with significant challenges for its sustainability. The focus of extant literature on sustainability has been more on the environmental and socio-cultural protection of the intrinsic qualities in the countryside, but less on the economic viability and marketing feasibility of rural tourism. The understanding of rural tourists has particularly been overlooked. This study examined the relationship between population migration at tourist origins and tourist arrivals from these origins to a rural destination. Through a conceptual application of gravity model, the study found that population migration exerted a significant effect on tourist arrivals. The study also revealed that the demographic variable of gender affected the dynamics of the relationship, suggesting that demographic information of migrants at tourist origins can offer richer marketing intelligence for rural destinations. The study's findings highlight the importance for rural communities to understand population migration at source markets, and provide a scientific tool to predict migration-induced tourist demand to rural destinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-204
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Services, Technology and Management
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Gravity model
  • Population migration
  • Rural tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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