Research report: The lingering effect of colonialism on tourist movements

Robert Douglas McKercher, Patrick L.Espoir Decosta

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This short study examines the lasting effects of colonial ties on tourist movements between nations and their current and former possessions. The study examines 56 jurisdictions in six geographical regions that were once colonies of or remain the possessions of eight nations. Residents of Europe and America show a preference for travel to destinations with strong historical/political ties and an equally strong aversion to travel to jurisdictions where no such connection exists. Likewise, destinations rely heavily on former colonizers as a key source of visitors, especially from long-haul markets. Such a pattern is not evident among either source European markets without a strong colonial history or destination countries without a colonial past. The lingering effects of colonialism are especially noticeable among French and Dutch tourists. The study suggests that 'colonialism' may need to be included as a variable in models of tourist movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-474
Number of pages22
JournalTourism Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Colonialism
  • Tourism movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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