In the literature, the economic impacts of the tourism industry and the relationship between economic growth and the quality of the environment have been the subject of several research studies. However, many empirical studies have provided controversial results regarding the link between tourism development, energy consumption, environmental quality and economic growth. Therefore, we will briefly analyze the results of previous studies under two lines of research.
2.1 Tourism and economic growth
Theoretically, international tourism is a source of long-term growth through several channels. In a more traditional sense, it has been argued that tourism brings in foreign currency, which can be used to import the capital goods needed to produce goods and services, thereby contributing to economic growth (Nowak, Sahli, and Cortés-Jiménez, 2007).
On the other hand, international tourism contributed to increasing income in several ways. First, it increases efficiency by rising competition between international tourist destinations (Zemla, 2014), secondly by facilitating the exploitation of economies of scale in local businesses (Jenkins, 1982), third , it makes it possible to boost the competitiveness of tourism companies from tourism clusters (Novelli, Schmitz and Spencer, 2006).
In terms of empirical literature, the link between international tourism and long-term growth has been the subject of numerous econometric studies since the early 2000s. The results of these studies show that it is difficult to establish a robust relationship between international tourism and growth.
2.2 Tourism, energy / electricity consumption, economic growth and CO2 emissions
Tourism development can have consequences on the degradation of environment, through the construction of hotels, tourist facilities and infrastructure, movement of tourists and additional energy consumption, reduction natural and agricultural areas. Conversely, environmental degradation could lead to a decline in tourism growth (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1980).
Empirically, the dynamic relationship between CO2 emissions, tourism development and economic growth are also controversial. For example, Sharif, Afshan & Nisha (2017) examined the effect of economic growth, tourist arrivals on CO2 emissions in Pakistan during the period 1972 to 2013 using cointegration techniques. The results of the analysis confirm the long-term relationship between tourism and CO2 emission. Raza et al. (2016) analyzed the influence of tourism development on environmental degradation in the United States, using maximal overlap discrete wavelet transform (MODWT). The study revealed that tourism development has a positive influence on CO2 emissions in the short, medium and long term. Shakouri et al. (2017) examined the impact of tourism and economic growth on CO2 emissions in selected Asia-Pacific countries for the period 1995–2013. Their results show that tourist arrivals have positive effects on CO2 emission levels. Danish and Wang (2019) explored the relationship between tourism, economic growth and CO2 emissions, in the context of the BRICS economies during the period 1995 to 2014, using econometric tests at heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence. The results of the analysis show that the tourism sector encourages economic growth but degrades the quality of environment. In addition, they prove the EKC hypothesis in BRICS countries, according to which the relationship between environmental quality and per capita income can have the shape of an inverted “U”, means that there may be a break in the positive relationship between the degradation of environmental quality and per capita income from a threshold level of the latter, called the turning point, from which the relationship becomes negative. Paramati, Alam, and Chen (2016) studied the relationship between tourism revenues, economic growth and CO2 emissions in developed and developing economies for the period 1995-2012. The econometric results indicate that tourism receipts have a positive effect on CO2 emissions. They also show the magnitude of the impact of tourism revenues on economic growth, and CO2 emissions vary widely between developed and developing countries. Koçak et al. (2020) has examined the relationship between tourism development and CO2 emissions in the top 10 tourist destination countries for the period 1995-2014. The results show that tourist arrivals have an increasing effect on CO2 emissions, while tourism receipts have a reduced effect on CO2 emissions.
Other studies have also provided additional information, in particular on energy consumption in the modeling of the determinants of CO2 emissions. Indeed, the positive impact of energy consumption on CO2 emissions has been shown in the following cases: Eyuboglu & Uzar (2019) for Turkey, Dogan et al. (2015) for the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Katircioglu et al. (2014) for Cyprus. However, other studies have proved that the impact of energy consumption on CO2 emissions is not significant, in particular: Solarin (2014) and Jayaraman, Lin, Guat and Ong, (2010) for Malaysia.
On the other hand, the results of the research are not uniform, which emerges from the contradictory conclusions of Katricioglu (2014) and Bella (2018). For example, Katricioglu (2014) found a negative impact of tourist arrivals on CO2 emissions in Singapore, while Bella (2018) noticed that there is a long-term negative relationship between tourism growth and polluting emissions for the case of France.
Finally, few studies in the literature have assessed the relationship between tourism, economic growth, energy or electricity consumption and CO2 emissions within the scope of the case study region, especially the North Africa. Sghaier et al. (2019) examined the influence of tourism development and energy consumption on economic growth and CO2 emissions in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, for the period 1980-2014, using an ARDL model. The results obtained are also attenuated, they consider that the growth of tourism has a negative effect on the quality of environment in Egypt while it has a positive effect in Tunisia and neutral in Morocco. The study support for the existence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between CO2 emissions and income level for Morocco and Egypt, while for Tunisia, this relationship is U-shaped. Gao et al. (2019) studied the relationship between CO2 emissions, energy consumption, economic growth and tourism receipts using cointegration tests on panel data from 18 Mediterranean countries over the period 1995-2010. The study revealed that tourism has a negative and significant impact on CO2 emissions in the southern Mediterranean region.
The empirical evidence for North Africa countries makes it clear that there is a lack of consensus among researchers on the relationship between the variables studied. In addition, studies on the impact of tourism development on the quality of the environment in North Africa remain low and the estimation method has been limited to ADRL and FMOLS. Therefore, this article considers it important to study the EKC and TLG assumptions in North African countries using the DSUR estimator which takes into account both heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, that is not the case for the DOLS and FMOLS estimator. Likewise, this method is particularly suitable when the time dimension is greater than the cross sectional data.
Moreover, unlike previous studies, this one uses electricity consumption in the study of the dynamic relationship between tourism, growth and environmental quality. Indeed, unlike other types of energy, electricity consumption is used in all sectors of activity (Ferguson et al, 2000; Shaari et al., 2017; Rahman, 2020). Given that the tourism sector is transversal, this study contributes to the existing literature by including electricity consumption in the analysis of the link between tourist arrivals, economic growth and CO2 emissions.