The role of tourism development in improving environmental quality in South Africa: Insights from novel dynamic ARDL simulations approach

Maxwell Chukwudi Udeagha and Nicholas Ngepah

Article history:
Received: 24 May 2021
Accepted: 15 September 2023


One approach to tackling environmental problems and achieving environmental sustainability goals is to boost the tourism industry, but this paradigm is also contested. Using the recently developed novel dynamic autoregressive distributed lag (DARDL) simulations framework, this study evaluates the influence of tourism development in promoting environmental quality in South Africa from 1960 to 2020. The results demonstrate that: (i) the growth of the tourism industry reduces CO2 emissions over the short and long terms; (ii) the scale effect worsens ecological environment while the technique effect is ecologically friendly, supporting the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) theory; (iii) trade openness strengthens ecological integrity in the short term but considerably intensifies environmental degradation over the long term; (iv) industrial production, foreign direct investment, economic complexity, and energy use increase CO2 emissions while composition effect reduces it; (v) tourism development, industrial growth, trade openness, foreign direct investment, energy use, economic complexity index, composition effect, technique effect and scale effect Granger-cause CO2 emissions in the short, long and medium term. These findings raise important policy questions.

tourism development, trade openness, CO2 emissions, dynamic ARDL simulations, energy consumption, industrial value-added, South Africa

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