Identifying Destination Health: Developing the Concepts of Market Indifference and Destination Dependence / Market Irrelevance

Bob McKercher, Barry Mak

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article develops a diagnostic tool to identify destinations “at risk” as a result of markets’ interest or lack thereof in a place. “At risk” is used in a similar manner to the medical profession’s use of the term “patients at risk” to identify those patients at risk of deterioration in order to trigger early intervention. Two situations are identified: market indifference, where markets as a whole show little interest in a destination, and destination dependence/market irrelevance, where destinations are overly reliant on markets that in the larger scheme of outbound travel show little interest in the destination. The study analyzed 162 destinations using UNWTO data. Almost 80 are affected potentially by one of these conditions. Most at-risk destinations are either small island countries, micro states, or countries with an underdeveloped tourism sector. Interestingly, no differences were found in the contribution tourism makes to GDP between seemingly at risk and not at risk places.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-892
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • destination dependence
  • market indifference
  • market irrelevance
  • tourism flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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