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EC O LO GIC A L E CO N O M ICS 6 7 ( 2 00 8 ) 4 2 0 –4 29

a v a i l a b l e a t w w w. s c i e n c e d i r e c t . c o m

w w w. e l s e v i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / e c o l e c o n


Using the concept of yield to assess the sustainability of different tourist types S. Becken⁎, D. Simmons
Environment, Society and Design Division, P.O. Box 84, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand

A R T I C LE I N FO Article history: Received 4 November 2007 Received in revised form 7 November 2007 Accepted 18 December 2007 Available online 30 January 2008 Keywords: Yield Tourist types Sustainability assessment Indicators

AB S T R A C T Sustainability assessments have become important tools for decision makers. This research assesses the sustainability of different types of tourists in New Zealand by using the concept of yield and by developing yield indicators in the areas of financial, public sector and sustainable yield. The concept and indicators have been developed in cooperation with the New Zealand tourism sector and therefore provide a sector-driven approach to implement a sustainability assessment. The analysis shows that there are numerous ‘trade-offs’ between indicators when attempting to define the ‘ideal visitor type’. Coach tourists, for example, are the largest spenders and generate the greatest Value Added in tourism on a per-day basis, but they contribute less to the financial sustainability of tourism when the costs of capital are accounted for. Coach tourists are highly concentrated in a few key destinations and at the same time produce substantial amounts of CO2 emissions due to their air travel component. In contrast, backpacker and camping tourists provide greater financial yield and are more dispersed, but they are also the greatest user of publicly provided tourist attractions and therefore come at a higher cost to government than other tourist types. Camping tourists are also contributing considerably to CO2 emissions. The yield analysis proposed in this paper could be a valuable tool for complex policy decision making and identifying strategies that lead to high-yield tourism. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



In response to a growing call for sustainable development, the scientific community has developed a broad range of tools to assess sustainability. These include indicators and indices (Böhringer and Jochem, 2007), product-related assessments and integrated assessments (Ness et al., 2007). Sustainability assessment provides “decision makers with an evaluation of global to local integrated nature-society systems in short and long term perspectives in order to assist them to determine which actions should or should not be taken in an attempt to make society sustainable” (Ness et al., 2007: 499).

Examples of different kinds of sustainability assessments can also be found in tourism. Gössling et al. (2002), for example, calculated the Ecological Footprint (EF) (Wackernagel et al., 1999) associated with tourism to the Seychelles and concluded that in the light of the large footprint associated with long-distance air travel, destinations should seek to attract tourists from close source markets. A similar result was found by Peeters and Schouten (2006) for tourism to Amsterdam. More recently, Patterson et al. (2007) used the EF concept to compare the impact of tourists with that of locals in a province in Italy. Another concept that seeks to integrate more than one sustainability dimension is that of “eco-efficiency”.

⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +64 3 325 3838; fax: +64 3 325 3857. E-mail addresses: (S. Becken), (D. Simmons). 0921-8009/$ – see front matter © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.12.025

EC O L O G IC A L E C O N O M IC S 6 7 ( 2 0 08 ) 42 0 –4 29


Eco-efficiency is a ratio of useful outputs to inputs (Jollands et al., 2004) and has been...
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