The impact of the media on tourism development and income inequality

Frank Kwabi*, Ernest Ezeani, Andrews Owusu, Chizindu Wonu, Wansu Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines whether the relationship between tourism development and income inequality is sensitive to the media environment. Using panel data from 88 countries for the period 1996 to 2020, we find that countries with uncensored media environments experience lower income inequality as the tourism industry develops. We also find that a favourable media environment enhances tourism development. Further analysis shows that asymmetries in a hostile media environment; namely, media biasedness, media corruption, and harassment of journalists, inhibit tourism development, particularly in emerging countries. This paper calls for strong support for press freedom to develop the tourism industry as countries emerge from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2062-2079
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number9
Early online date20 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2023


  • emerging countries
  • hostile media environment
  • Income inequality
  • press freedom
  • tourism development
  • voice and accountability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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