The Effects of Regional Trade Agreements on International Tourist Flows in the Middle East and Africa

Luke E. Okafor, Usman Khalid, Ogechi Adeola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter draws on findings from analysing the effect of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) on international tourist flows in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to discuss the role of policy harmonisation in tourism development. The empirical analysis is carried out using a gravity dataset consisting of an unbalanced panel of 171 origin countries, 55 destination countries, and 4454 country-pairs over the period from 1995 to 2015. The results show that regional trade agreements have a significant positive effect on international tourist flows over the sample period: country-pairs that are members of regional trade agreements experienced greater tourist flows than non-members in both SSA and MENA. The results underscore the role of policy harmonisation in boosting international tourism. RTAs encourage policy harmonisation amongst member states to promote regional integration and thereby enabling inter-regional tourism. Integrating tourism development into regional trade agreements could amplify their positive effect on tourist flows, such as through harmonising tourism-related policies, which in turn, would generate positive spill-overs across tourist destinations in the RTAs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism, Hospitality and Event Management
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameTourism, Hospitality and Event Management
ISSN (Print)2510-4993
ISSN (Electronic)2510-5000


  • Africa
  • Gravity model
  • International tourist flows
  • Regional trade agreements
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • Tourism management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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