Going Viral: A Gravity Model of Infectious Diseases and Tourism Flows

20 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2020

See all articles by Serhan Cevik

Serhan Cevik

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: July 2020


This paper develops a gravity model framework to estimate the impact of infectious diseases on bilateral tourism flows among 38,184 pairs of countries over the period 1995-2017. The results confirm that international tourism is adversely affected by disease risk, and the magnitude of this negative effect is statistically and economically significant. In the case of SARS, for example, a 10 percent rise in confirmed cases leads to a reduction of as much as 9 percent in tourist arrivals. Furthermore, while infectious diseases appear to have a smaller and statistically insignificant negative effect on tourism flows to advanced economies, the magnitude and statistical significance of the impact of infectious diseases are much greater in developing countries, where such diseases tend to be more prevalent and health infrastructure lags behind.

Keywords: Economic growth, Economic recovery, Financial crises, Tourism, Gross domestic product, Infectious diseases, international tourism flows, gravity model, panel data, WP, Ebola, SARS, infectious disease, confirmed case

JEL Classification: C21, C23, F11, F14, F47, R12, Z30, E01, O4, E2, L3

Suggested Citation

Cevik, Serhan, Going Viral: A Gravity Model of Infectious Diseases and Tourism Flows (July 2020). IMF Working Paper No. 20/112, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3658586

Serhan Cevik (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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